Matthew 25:9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
It’s strange, but you would think that in this situation, the girls with oil in their lamps would share it with the others. After all, it’s a Christian story, and isn’t Christianity all about sharing our resources with other people? Jesus usually criticized selfish people and urged his followers to give what they could to the needy. So why doesn’t He end this story with: ‘and the five selfish maids were not invited to the bridegroom’s party for not sharing their oil.’ After all, that’s the way the world would end it, right?
This means, as usual, that there must be something deeper going on. The parable is not about sharing, it’s about being prepared and showing respect. The five clever maidens were ready for any inconvenience. They wanted to make sure that they could honor and escort the bridegroom when he eventually arrived. They weren’t thinking about themselves. They were concentrating on what the groom needed to make his wedding party a great success. The five wise girls had already committed their resources to him; if they shared their precious oil with the foolish maidens, then the bridegroom would have been dishonored by all. By keeping the oil to themselves, they were at least ensuring that fifty percent of the bridal party would properly honor the groom.
I guess we all feel sorry for the five foolish maidens because we identify so readily with them. Most of us are last minute shoppers at Christmas and get by each day by doing just enough. It always amazes me on Sunday mornings when a lot of people arrive just a couple of minutes before the worship is due to start. One minute the sanctuary looks half empty; the very next it is three quarters full.
The point Jesus was making with this story is something that we all should seriously consider: leaving our faith commitment to the last minute may be fatal to our souls. Our lives are meant to be used for enjoying God and worshiping His Son. If we take them for granted, then we may unexpectedly run out of time one day, with no earthly chance of making things right with God.
That’s why making and taking time to read the Bible, reading or listening to these devotions, and to ponder about what God is telling us is so important. We can get sidetracked too easily. We can leave holy things to the last minute much too often, that we unintentionally end up disregarding, dishonoring, and disrespecting God.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we are often too busy for our own good and end up sapping our resources and energy on things that are unimportant, trivial, and meaningless. Help us to reset our ways and enable us to honor You with our love, devotion, and faith. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.