Then the kingdom of heaven shall be like ten virgins, who, taking their lamps, went out to meet the groom and the bride. But five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For the five foolish, having brought their lamps, did not take oil with them. Yet truly, the prudent ones brought the oil, in their containers, with the lamps. Since the bridegroom was delayed, they all fell asleep, and they were sleeping. But in the middle of the night, a cry went out: ‘Behold, the groom is arriving. Go out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose up and trimmed their lamps. But the foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give to us from your oil, for our lamps are being extinguished.’ The prudent responded by saying, ‘Lest perhaps there may not be enough for us and for you, it would be better for you to go to the vendors and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were going to buy it, the groom arrived. And those who were prepared entered with him to the wedding, and the door was closed.
The five foolish virgins did not bring oil with them while the five wise virgins brought oil with them. The foolish virgins brought their lamps and did not take oil with them. They were foolish because they thought bringing the lamp was enough, they were concerned of external appearances, they forgot what is inside the lamp. Our faith is not a matter of external appearances. It requires inner conversion. Psalm 51 tells us that God does not want our sacrifices. He wants a humble a contrite heart.
These women were also lazy. They did not prepare the oil for the lamps. The practice during those days is the wedding happens about a year after the betrothal. The women had at least months to prepare the oil for the lamps. They did nothing to get their lamps ready. We cannot be lazy with regards to our faith. We have been given years to prepare for the time we will meet the Lord face to face. And if we leave it to the last minute, we may not have the chance to repent.
The third reason why the women are foolish is they thought others will help them. The wise women were wise because they knew they had to have the lamps lit for the groom and would not share. We need to be concerned about our salvation first. No one is going to make the decision for us. We also need to be concerned of our salvation first before we can help others. It distresses me to see Christian leaders who think that they are helping others know Christ when they themselves neglect their relationship with Christ. We cannot give what we do not have. And if we keep serving without taking time to learn about our faith, we are like the foolish women who neglect their salvation.
The fourth reason why they are foolish is they left their post. I personally believe, the groom would not care if the lamps are lit or not. The groom would probably just let them into the banquet even if the lamps are not lit. We are not saved by good works alone. Salvation is a gift from God and we are saved by the mercy of God. These women thought that the lamps will get them into the banquet. They missed the fact that it is the mercy of the groom that will get them into the banquet.
The last reason why the women are foolish is because they had no thought of others. Imagine it is midnight and they went out to buy oil. Who would be open at that time of night? These women are foolish because they had to wake people up. They did not care about others because they cared only about themselves. In our faith, it is not about us. We do not serve at our convenience. We serve because the Lord tells us to serve him.
Help me Lord to prepare myself so I can truly serve you with wisdom.