05.09.13 by brent hand
Reading Jesus’ story of the 10 virgins with a 21st century mindset is hard. We tend to focus on the purity of the girls or their narcolepsy. Neither is important because neither things set the girls apart. All of them were pure. All of them fell asleep. The stupid ones just didn’t bring any oil with them. And then we simply think “oh, so they weren’t ready when the Lord came back to get ‘em.” And yes. They weren’t prepared. But maybe not in the way we often think.
All the girls were pure. They were not in sin. Just the opposite. They were waiting on the groom to arrive. Some just weren’t ready.
All the girls had fallen asleep. They had waited a long time. Their sleep didn’t keep them from the wedding party. Their lack of oil in their lamps did. It was a lack of preparation.
I did some fine research on the subject (I googled it) and found a few interesting thoughts on what the point of the lamps were. But all the theories pointed to one general idea: the virgins had a role to play at the wedding and without oil in their lamps they could not participate adequately. It could be as important a role as using the lamps to light torches to light the way for the whole wedding party, or simply the girls were meant to assist the bride and could not do so in the dark.
Whatever the case may be, the important part is that they we’re not prepared to participate in the wedding. They were awake. They knew what was going on. They saw the groom coming. They were where they were supposed to be. They were waiting on him. They were ready for him to come… just not ready to go with him. They weren’t ready to join in the festivities.
I think that’s a great symbol of the modern church. We are waiting on Christ to return. We are where we are supposed to be. We have tried to live a pure life. We don’t do all those things we aren’t supposed to do anymore. We do all the things the preacher expects us to do. We sing in the choir or lead a small group. We read the Bible some. We pray often. We teach our kids about Jesus. We live as good as we can. But are we ready to go? In our hearts are we prepared to spend eternity with Jesus? Or is there still part of us that isn’t ready to join the eternal song of praise to our Creator? Not “are we ready to face judgement?” But are we ready for heaven? Are we ready to join in the festivities? Are we prepared to worship him at his feet forever? Because forever is coming.