The Master storyteller takes another story from contemporary life, familiar to his original hearers, and uses it to bring into sharp focus the lesson he has been teaching them. Imagine a wedding. Imagine two sets of bridesmaids. As sometimes happens, the bridegroom is much delayed—so much so, in this instance, that the bridesmaids become drowsy and fall asleep. Suddenly the bridegroom arrives! They all hurry to get ready for the wedding. But only one set of “virgins,” the young ladies attending the wedding, had prepared for the circumstance of the bridegroom being delayed—they had extra oil for their lamp. The other set of bridesmaids had not prepared. When they asked for extra oil from those who had some, they were refused because then there would not be enough to go around. So they have to hurry out and buy some more oil for their lamps, but by the time they come back, the door has been shut, and they are not allowed to come in.
“Watch therefore, for you neither know the day nor the hour.”
The point of the story is not the merits or otherwise of the virgins who refused extra oil to their companions. The point of the story is that we must be ready for when Jesus—the bridegroom in the story—returns. And we do not know when he will return. It may seem as if he is much delayed. So much so that our faith, our commitment, may become drowsy and somewhat inadequate. But he will return. And we must be ready for the moment when he does return. We do not know when he is coming back; therefore, be ready at any moment.
It is a stirring word and an important reminder. Be ready. Jesus could return before I finish writing these words—or before you finish reading them.
To receive God Centered Bible devotionals directly in your inbox, sign up here.