Are you the king of person who is prepared for every eventuality, or lives responding to life as it happens? I find myself swinging much more from the former to the latter these day, whether that’s circumstance, experience or age I’m not sure. There are merits in both flexibility and being ready – until you get caught out!
Matthew 25:1-13 (CEV)
A Story about Ten Girls
25 The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten girls took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom. 2 Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps, but no extra oil. 4 The ones who were wise took along extra oil for their lamps.
5 The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, “Here’s the groom! Come to meet him!”
7 When the girls got up and started getting their lamps ready, 8 the foolish ones said to the others, “Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out.”
9 The girls who were wise answered, “There’s not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves.”
10 While the foolish girls were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The girls who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed. 11 Later the other girls returned and shouted, “Sir, sir! Open the door for us!”
12 But the groom replied, “I don’t even know you!”
13 So, my disciples, always be ready! You don’t know the day or the time when all this will happen.
There we were. Waiting for him to come. The bridegroom. Nothing could happen until he came.
It was a long wait I can tell you. Don’t know what had held him up, but we were there, ready with our lamps to light his way, his arrival. I’d taken extra fuel for my lamp. I like to be prepared, ready for anything and everything. These things often take longer than you think. Four of the others had done the same – it takes a lot of light! You need to be ready with an ongoing source. Some of the others weren’t ready for such a long haul. They had just the oil that had come in their lamps.
So they had to go and find some more. Who knows where they were going to find it at that time of night. Anywhere they could I suppose. But they weren’t going to last the wait without an extra supply. The awkward bit is that whilst they were gone, the groom came. Their moment of waiting was over and they missed it. They were needed with their light, and they weren’t there. We had to go with him. This is what we’d been waiting for, the whole reason for the vigil. To have waited for the others would have been to let the groom down – he already only had half the light he should.
When the others came back they were too late. Their not having enough oil to last had cost them their entry.
The Scouts aren’t wrong with their motto.
you ask me to be ready,
prepared for when you need me,
ready for when you come.
May my resources not run low,
may I keep supplies topped up,
may I remain in you,
And when you come
may I be ready
and not caught napping.