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Being Prepared

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

Being Prepared

Matthew 25:1-13

There are certainly times in this life, when we need to borrow something, right? For me, it’s usually some kind of tool. I find that when I don’t have the tools that I need to accomplish the job at hand… I end up calling around, usually to someone in our family, or a friend, to see if I can borrow a tool, in order to complete whatever project I’m working on. Joe Spraggins has come to my rescue many times - because if Joe doesn’t have the tool you need, I’m not sure you really need it!

Nowadays, it’s more like… I’m going to borrow my neighbors Wi-Fi until they reset the password. In fact, password sharing when it comes to services like Netflix accounts, has caused the company to react, and to put in safeguards on their system, so that it can’t be accessed except through dedicated Internet lines that belong to the owner. Sometimes borrowing goes a little too far… and it becomes stealing.

Of course, in this life, there are many things that you just can’t borrow from another person. Things like, faithfulness, devotion, love. Such things simply can’t be borrowed, you either possess them or you don’t. They’re things that have to come from within. That have to be developed. We can’t borrow salvation. You can’t ride along on someone else’s faith. You must have your own.

At the beginning of Matthew Chapter 24, the Disciples came to Jesus, asking, “when will we know that the end of the world is coming?” And Jesus took two whole chapters of Matthew’s gospel to answer. About midway through those two chapters, Jesus tells the Disciples the parable from our Scripture Lesson, about borrowing.

At a wedding, there were 10 bridesmaids. Five of the bridesmaids had their act together, while five did not. Five were wise, Five were foolish.

The first five knew the groom was coming from a long way away, and could arrive at any time of the day, or night. So they brought along extra oil to keep their lamps lit, so that they could welcome the groom if he did arrive in the middle of the night. But the latter five, the foolish five, the ones that didn’t have their act together, failed to bring along enough oil. I can imagine they fretted over their hair, their dresses, or who they would be dancing with at the reception. So, bringing along extra oil to keep their lamps lit never crossed their minds.

Of course, as fate would have it, the groom was delayed... and he arrived in the middle of the night... so the unprepared bridesmaids turned to the prepared ones and asked, “can we borrow some oil?” And the prepared bridesmaids said, “if we loan you our oil, then will both run out.“ so instead of borrowing oil, the foolish bridesmaids had to run and try to find oil in the middle of the night… and by the time they got back, the doors were shut, and they were left out.

It’s a fascinating parable. I mean, most of us would’ve probably tried to find someone to go buy some oil on our behalf, so we could attend our duties, so we could participate in the event we were called, and invited, to participate in. I’m not so sure too many of us would’ve taken the chance of being left out.

But as usual, when it comes to Jesus… And Jesus’ parables… There’s more going on here, than we may initially realize.

Remember... this is a parable. It’s symbolic. Jesus’ used parables to stress his points. The wedding is a symbol of the coming of the kingdom, or, as we would say, the second coming. The groom, of course Jesus, and the bride is the church. The bridesmaids in Jesus’ parable represent us, you and me… Believers who’ve been invited to the feast... believers who are anxiously anticipating the arrival of Jesus.

And I also believe, that metaphorically speaking, Jesus chose oil, and lamps as symbols in his parable. The oil is what makes the flame burn in a lamp. Without oil, they’ll be no light to shine in the darkness. So the oil can represent faith! And God’s Word says, without faith it is impossible to please God... just like it’s impossible for a lamp to work without it’s source of fuel, or power. The oil represents our power, our fuel... the Holy Spirit... our a vital relationship with God, that’s needed, required, necessary for the light to shine… it’s not optional.

The Good News is that the OBJECT of our FAITH is also the SUPPLY of our faith. Meaning... when you & I place our trust and faith in Christ it NEVER runs out!

That’s why Jesus could say, “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed...” you have enough.

The problem is many of us in this world today are running low on oil. So many people refused to for whatever reason, stock up, so-to-speak, on the things of God. So many Christians are happy with a shallow, running on empty kind of faith. They maintain the minimum supply… Just enough to hopefully see him through, never enough to truly thrive. Never enough to weather the storms of life… All those unexpected mishaps and crises that try our faith, and our trust in God.

And, of course, such faith, such fuel for life can’t be borrowed. You can reach out and help your brothers and sisters… You and I can pray for others… But we cannot loan them our faith.

Every single one of us is called to develop our own faith. To work on it, to foster it, to nurture our faith. Through prayer, and worship, and service… As you and I study God’s word, and, as we focus on building a reservoir of deep and biding faith - supplied by Jesus Himself - we learn that our supply is enough.

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