Scripture: Matthew 25:1-13
Key verse: (13) “Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Reflection: Years ago, I had a friend that was never prepared for anything. If we went shopping, she would forget to wear comfortable shoes and would need to borrow my flip-flops. If we took our children on a picnic, she would forget to bring a lunch basket. There was always something I was lending her: tissues, lip gloss, gum, sunglasses, sunscreen, socks, toothpaste, hairspray. She never paid attention to what she might need! Of course, I was her over-prepared friend who had everything! As long as she had me around she didn’t need to worry.
A lot of people approach their faith journey this way. They hope it will just happen. They put off cultivating a relationship with Jesus, through acts of devotion and service, hoping that one day they will have more time. So many of us think this way. We aren’t prepared. Then, something challenging happens and we discover very quickly we don’t have the resources we need. We literally run around looking for God’s comfort and strength, but we can’t find it.
Today’s scripture passage is called the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids, but it is more an allegory than a parable. An allegory uses symbols to represent characters, ideas or concepts. In this allegory the bridegroom is Jesus, the bridesmaids are the church and the oil (or having oil) is symbolic of “good deeds of love and mercy”. We are told at the beginning of the story that five of the bridesmaids were wise and five were foolish. Some were prepared and some were not. They all fell asleep, but only the wise bridesmaids had enough oil for an unanticipated wait. Apparently, the foolish bridesmaids did not understand what was required of them. So, they had to make a mad scramble, at the last minute, to get more oil. Unfortunately, it was too little; too late. The door was closed on them and they were shut out of the banquet.
Jesus reminds us to be ready. Whether it is the second coming of Christ or the unexpected events in life, we are reminded to be prepared. Don’t miss out on the wonderful banquet you can enjoy now and later. Be prepared to meet God at any time and find out what confidence and joy this preparation adds to your life.
Prayer: Gracious God, we confess that we are distracted by so many things in our lives. Please help us to be prepared to meet you every day as we continue to give our time and attention to acts of love, mercy and justice. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].