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The bridegroom did not return when expected…from The Message translation
The parable of the bridesmaids in Matthew 25:1-13 hinges upon the above point. Without the delay, we would never have seen the difference between the wise and foolish. For all were invited, brought lamps, got drowsy, slept, awoke, and trimmed their lamps – but only the wise brought extra oil and were therefore present when the bridegroom arrived allowing them to 1) enter, and 2) enjoy. It’s not enough to be invited! It’s much better to get into the party. And the difference boils down, in this parable, to some brought extra oil.
When the finish is delayed it may cause us to –
- Give up
- Question God’s love
- Question what we have done wrong
Jesus is more concerned about
our readiness/preparation than his return’s timing.
How do we run a race without knowing where the finish line is? Three parables about the judgment in Matthew 24-25 show what it takes to run the race:
Take care of your household, bring extra oil, use your talents
1. Community connection (household caring)
2. Spiritual practices (oil filling)
3. Serve others (talent stewarding)
None of the above are news to us. These are foundational practices we have heard from the earliest moments of our faith journey. Be a part of a church. Read your bible and pray. And make sure to take care of others. Let us not grow tired of the very practices that God sends to help us run the race and run until the finish line. Rather than look for the novelty may we rededicate ourselves to the tried and true.