“The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves (Matthew 25, NASV).’”
God is a giving God. And God wants Christians to give like He does. In fact, Jesus said, “When you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, (Matthew 6, NASV).” We are to give so much that we won’t remember how much we gave or who we gave it to!
So if God wants us to give to everyone so liberally, then what do we do with the parable of the five wise virgins and five foolish virgins? Why can’t the wise virgins give their oil away? Here’s the story as Jesus told it:
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.2 Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.
5 Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.
8 The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
9 But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’
12 But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour (Matthew 25, NASV).”
The ten virgins were all professing Christians. All ten people knew one another and interacted with one another. They lived together in community and talked to each other using spiritual terms. The ten carried their Bibles to church, put money in the offering plate, sang the songs, and listened to the preachers in the pulpits. There were quite a few similarities between the five foolish and the five wise virgins. They all knew each other quite well.
The difference between foolish and the wise was what they treasured Monday through Saturday.
The calendars and daily agendas of the wise virgins were determined by what the bridegroom wanted them to do. What’s more, the wise virgins were also full of love and every day they thought, “Maybe today. Maybe today He will come!” So every day the wise virgins kept watch for the bridegroom. Every day was a new day to prepare for the wedding! Each sunrise signaled a new day to communicate with Him, trust Him, believe Him, and yes, obey Him. The bridegroom made it clear that the five wise virgins made a decision early on that they were going to invest time with the Holy Spirit NOW before the bridegroom comes.
The five foolish virgins went to church, had a Bible tucked under their arms, did charitable deeds, but really lived their day to day lives doing their own thing. Maybe they even spent hour upon hour watching what the rest of the world was doing (think TV, internet) instead of keeping watch for the bridegroom and knowing what He was doing.
“There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man swallows it up (Proverbs 21, NASV).”
The five wise virgins could not give their oil away any more than you or I can give away our relationship with our parent or child or sibling. A relationship is something that happens on the inside and knowing someone can only happen when we’ve invested time and treasure into that person’s life.
Time. Time is a gift we have TODAY. Paul exhorted us, “Make the most of your time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5).”
My dear friend, how much time did you invest in acquiring the oil today? Do you know the voice of God? You will need everything that God tells you today in order to keep your faith, hope, and love in the coming days of darkness.
Jesus Himself told us, “Work while it is yet day. The day is coming when no man can work.” What was he talking about? He’s talking about US! He is telling us to take the time with God right now WHILE WE HAVE THE TIME. Cultivate a hearing ear right now WHILE WE CAN HEAR GOD. Obey Him NOW while it’s daylight and we have a job to do. Develop a friendship now, before the dark days of tribulation rock our world.
For it’s true—a day is coming when no one can work. Our days will be dark just before Jesus comes. People’s hearts will fail them because of all the fearful events. But those who invest in the oil today will SHINE IN THE DARKNESS that is ahead!
Then one day, like a thief that breaks into a house at night, the alarm will go off and the wise virgins will hear the trumpet of God! The time for expecting the bridegroom will be past, for he will be here! The wise virgins will arise to meet the Lord in the air. The bridegroom will shut the door and the foolish virgins who wasted their days on other cares will be locked out of the wedding feast and their opportunity to know the bridegroom will be forever lost.