And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.” Matthew 25:2

The above scripture is an excerpt from the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Mt. 25:1-13). While there are many things to learn from this parable, among the most sobering is that wise and foolish choices are not part of God’s sovereign mysterious plans for our lives. Instead, wise and foolish choices are ours to make, and they yield either rewards or consequences.

In this Parable, the 5 wise virgins chose to bring extra oil for their lamps, and the 5 foolish virgins did not. As the story goes, when all the virgins slept, the announcement came that the bridegroom was on his way. The 5 foolish virgins awoke with no oil in their lamps, and they said to the wise virgins, “Give us some of your oil because our lamps don’t have enough!” The wise virgins said, “No, because there won’t be enough for us and you! Go and buy your own oil!”

 And guess what! While they went to buy more oil, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

Three things the parables teach us are very evident in this parable.

  1. Preparation: Wisdom prepares for potential problems, delays and shortages. Wisdom looks ahead to minimize risks of being taken by surprise with no provisions. Rudi Giuliani wrote a book entitled Leadership in which he listed 12 principles of leadership, and number 8 was ‘PREPARE RELENTLESSLY.’ When you go to work prepared it shows you care enough to put in the effort to prepare. People admire those who are prepared. It speaks volumes too.
  2. Separation: When the 5 wise virgins held on to their own oil, it shows they were dedicated to the stewardship they were entrusted as part of the bridal party. When the others didn’t prepare, it showed they were not all that dedicated. So, they wanted what the others had without taking the steps the other took to bring extra oil. So they SEPARATED themselves and their resources from the others in order to be ready to fulfill their roles.
  3. Decoration: The 5 wise virgins were honored and decorated for their faithfulness and were brought into the wedding. Jesus always rewards faithfulness by promoting those who are faithful to the calling He has called them to. In this case, the virgins fulfilled their roles in attending to the bride. “He who is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much!” (Luke 16 :10)

Think of what a little extra effort would have done for the 5 foolish virgins. It may have been a bit more burdensome and cumbersome for the wise virgins to carry another vessel for the extra oil they may have needed. But they did it anyway. It might mean spending some extra time in prayer and meditating on the Word of God to keep yourself filled, anointed and burning with all the power you need to resist temptation, to overcome evil with good, and to rise to challenges full of faith – but Jesus wants you to know He values that – it’s called faithfulness, and in faithfulness lies our promotion! The Choice is Ours!

With Love,

Pastor Tom

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