Tag Archives: Matthew 25:1-13

Be Prepared

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. Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps, but no extra oil. The ones who were wise took along extra oil for their lamps.

The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep. Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, “Here’s the groom! Come to meet him!”

When the girls got up and started getting their lamps ready, the foolish ones said to the others, “Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out.”

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.

Lord,
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,
my strength,
my light,
my power.

And when you come
may I be ready
and not caught napping.

Ready and Waiting?

One of the major issues I have is lack of energy.  In myself there are lots of things that I think I could do, but the reality is I can’t.  After a very short amount of time I need to rest – or even better just sleep.  Even the promise of a party takes energy I don’t have.

So I can feel some sympathy for the girls in this reading.

The girls are waiting for the bridegroom to arrive.  Then the wedding feast, to which they are invited will begin.  They’ve taken their lamps to welcome him.  But the evening draws on and the girls fall asleep.

At midnight, the bridegroom arrived, and the girls woke up to greet him.  Then it became obvious – five of the girls had brought enough oil to last a long time, others only had their lamps.  They were not ready when the bridegroom came.

They looked like they were ready, outside appearances were good, they had lamps. But, and it becomes a big but that means they miss the opportunity, they were not prepared.  They didn’t have enough resources.  They had the lamps, but they had nothing to power them with.

This passage comes after the tussles between Jesus and the Scribes and the Pharisees.  From that I think we can suggest that the parable is about how things look and how things are.  The Scribes and Pharisees looked ready for the coming of God’s kingdom, but it wasn’t appearing as they expected and so they weren’t ready.  They looked the part – nice shiny lamps – but they had no oil inside.  They we all show and no substance.  They weren’t ready to meet God’s bridegroom, Jesus, when he came.

For me, this leads to two further questions:

Are we ready?  For however and whenever God comes.

Are we in it for the long haul?  Do we keep our resources topped up from God, that our oil may not run out?

All ten girls had been waiting with their lamps, but when it came to it, five of them were not really prepared, they didn’t have the resources they needed, and they missed out.

As thoughts begin to turn towards Christmas and all that needs to be prepared, we would find it unthinkable to be found without turkey or mince pies or enough cards to send… or whatever is the essential ingredient to your Christmas.  Let’s make sure the same is true of our spiritual needs, that we may not be found without all that we need to be ready and waiting for Jesus when he comes.

 

Lord,

as I wait for you,

may I draw on you,

keep myself topped up

with your spirit and life.

May I not be all show,

all outer wrapping,

and no inner substance,

but looking

and waiting

and ready