Sunday, January 18, 2015

Matthew 25:7-9 -- On Wisdom and Testimony

"Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves."
Matthew 25:7-9

 This is part of the parable of the ten virgins.  It is an interesting one.  To me, it seems to reflect how both sides feel.  From the perspective of the five foolish virgins, we wonder... why can't those "wise guys" just *share*?  What is the big deal?  We were here, on time, waiting, ready, and if they would just share a little, then everything would be fine.  And from the perspective of the wise virgins, we wonder why the "fools" couldn't just be prepared for a long wait.  We can't really share, not knowing how long it will be, or everyone will be left in the dark.
Maybe we've all been wise and foolish in the past.  We seem to have those kinds of cycles in our lives. :)  Sometimes we're prepared, and sometimes we aren't, and sometimes others can save us from the consequences and sometimes they can't.  Life, hopefully, teaches us to be more and more prepared as time goes on, because we learn that we go through hardship when we aren't.   And if we just learn to think ahead a little more, that is a good lesson by itself.  The specific idea in this parable though is preparation for the bridegroom, symbolically Christ's Second Coming.  And in *that* case, the oil that we're talking about is our testimonies and our commitment to the gospel. 
If we knew absolutely that Christ were coming back tomorrow, I don't think any of us would have a problem spending today getting our lives in order and putting God first.  But because, as in the parable, it takes a lot of waiting to get there, we sometimes start turning a little foolish, and letting our testimonies run down.  We stop doing the things that shore them up... stop reading the scriptures, stop praying, stop trusting God to answer our questions.  And if, in the waiting in between time, before Christ comes, we find ourselves out of testimony, then we won't be prepared when he does.
Just like a lamp, our testimony and our faith and our belief need to be refilled.  We need a regular influx of the spirit to keep remembering God, to keep putting him first, and to grow and expand our testimonies and become stronger in the gospel.  If we stop doing the things that bring us closer to God, then we get further away.  There is no standing still with God.  Only going forward and going backward, and belief and commitment can't really be borrowed from others.  We *must* find out for ourselves, and refill our own lamps.
Today, let's do the things that it takes to renew our testimonies and feel the spirit.  Let's attend church.  Let's pray.  Let's read and ponder God's word.  Let's make time for God in our lives, and make him our top priority.  Let's be wise, and know that we will be prepared when he comes again.

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