Jesus told us this parable to explain what the ends times would be like when He returned. It may be silly, but this parable makes me think of the student who hears his teacher tell him to always study and be ready because at any given time in class, there may be a pop quiz. How that student chooses to respond to that information is his responsibility. Have you ever had a teacher that seemed to enjoy inflicting pop quizzes on the class? How did you respond? Did you study diligently, or did you give it up for lost and hope for the best? Did you study a little and think you were prepared, only to find out that you didn’t study enough? Keep that in mind as you read this parable.
Jesus tells of ten virgins who were waiting for their groom to come and take them to the ceremony. In these days, it was the custom for the groom to pick up his bride and take her to the ceremony. Five of the brides were wise and were prepared for however long it may take the groom, but the other five only partially prepared. They had to go buy more oil for their lamps and missed their groom. Jesus then ended the parable with this statement: “Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” If you backtrack and read Matthew 24:36-51, Jesus told them that He was teaching about the end times. He explained that only God knew when Jesus would return, so we all needed to be prepared.
Go back to the idea of the pop quiz. Think about the student who heard the teacher warn about pop quizzes, but for the first few months of school there was not a single quiz. After a while, the student may not remain diligent in his studying because he forgot the warning. When the teacher finally gives the pop quiz, the student will be caught off guard. I think we have the potential to be the same way. In Matthew 24, Jesus related not being prepared with a parable of a servant who was put in charge while the master was away. After a long while, the servant began to mistreat the other servants because he forgot he was still serving his master. When the master returned and caught him, he was punished.
Every one of us has a job to do here on earth. We are to share God’s love with others using the gifts God has given us. When we serve others for God, we are growing our relationship with God. As we have learned from reading through other parables, God expects good stewardship of the responsibilities He has given us. He wants us to love others and to tell others of His love. He wants us to care for those who are less fortunate and those who are vulnerable. Jesus was reminding us that He doesn’t want to come back and find that we have not been doing what we have been called to do. I will reference Micah 6:8 again only because it convicts me so strongly. “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” I know I have a long way to go, but I can say that as I have grown in my relationship with God, I have become more aware of the needs around me. Please understand that as I write this, I am so deeply convicted.
I also do not want to minimize the fact that Jesus was also talking to those who may not have yet taken a step of faith and were sitting on the fence. It is a good reminder that since His return is not known, it is better to decide now than wait!
Will God come when you are not prepared? Will you begin to look around you and ask how God would have you to act justly and love mercy and to have a humble walk with Him?