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Wise or Foolish

On Tuesday of Holy Week, scholars believe that Jesus gave ten parables. The ninth one is of the ten virgins and reads:

"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. "At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' " '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.' "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. "Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!' "But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Matthew 25 1-13

There are two groups here: wise and foolish. The wise ones have extra oil for their lamps and the foolish ones do not. Both groups fall asleep. Both groups are awakened by surprise in the middle of the night. One group is ready to go and for the other it is too late.

I have a couple of thoughts. One is preparation. We are required to be prepared. God surprises us with things and we are either prepared or we are not. Everything requires preparation in order to be ready. It's always foolish to try to do something significant without preparation and preparation always pays off when the thing happens that you have prepared for.

Secondly, what's the oil? What do you need extra of for when life happens in a big way? What could you stock up on in normal times that you'll need if crisis hits you? Or if your wildest dream suddenly came true, what would you need to get, perhaps inside yourself, that you don't have, in order to be prepared for that dream to come true?

My third thought is that you can not ride on someone else's coat tails. The saying, "God has no grandchildren", is true!

Jesus himself is calling you a fool if you think that you are ready for him or for the kingdom to come and you have not prepared your self. He's saying that he will suddenly come and you have to be ready when you don't expect him. The people in the parable are all the same on the surface: virgins with oil lamps. But if you looked at them closer, you would notice half had full oil reserve bags and the other half did not. The wise ones had to spend the extra money to have extra supplies and they had to hold onto them in a state of readiness. There's a burden there of spending ahead of time or investing and losing the cash for other things and then carrying the supplies around or keeping them close by. Some work is required, but it has to be that way.

So, what is the extra oil that we need to have?

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