But there is another passage that is important as it comes alongside this parable – Ephesians 5:15-17. Ephesians 5:15 says “See then that you walk circumspectly (carefully), not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise….” Fools – Wise – Redeem the time.
So, what to do to prepare in these days? Stockpile food and water? Store up survival equipment? But – are you preparing spiritually for the tougher days that just may lie ahead? How? Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God. Redeem the time.
The 10 virgins in the parable – half were wise, half were foolish. This is not contrasting the “saved” with the “unsaved.” It’s not about getting into Heaven. All 10 went out to meet the Bridegroom. All anticipated His coming. They all had lamps with oil… but the foolish five had not figured on Him tarrying – delaying. These five had no reserves from which to draw. They were not prepared – to last – or “endure to the end.” They had enough oil for “today.” And then, when they depleted their supply, they had to scurry to go find more oil…
This parable is about having extra oil – stored in your vessel. More than you think you need – for now. More than enough oil to sustain light over a length of time. “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph.5:18) – filled to overflowing – so that you cannot contain the peace He brings – the “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Phil.4:7). More than enough extra oil so that you can last a long time. A long time – of waiting: “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength” (Isa.40:31); “Do not grow weary in well-doing” (2Thes.3:1).
This Hebrew word “wait” means more than standing there tapping your toes. And it means more than “serving” the Lord during the waiting times. The word /qavah/ inherently holds the concept of waiting hopefully.We wait in expectant hope that God will provide – because we KNOW He is faithful to His Word. “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him” (Lam.3:25).
Many of us who came through the Charismatic Renewal of the ‘60s and ‘70’s believed – truly believed – that Jesus was going to return in the next few years. I never thought my eldest son would see his teen years – or drive my car – or marry. He’s 46 – and I’m a grandmother! I am still waiting for His soon-coming! But I have never given up the hope that He will fulfill every promise.
Our preparation is not in stockpiling goods – or even extra money in a savings account (although that is always WISE!) We redeem the time – we get ready now for harder times that just may come sooner than later. We prepare by pressing in to know God – and He reveals everything we need to know about Him in His Word. All the secrets of living this life successfully are there – hidden for us to mine out the treasures. When we bury the treasures of His Word in our hearts, they are there so that the Holy Spirit can, indeed, bring them back to our remembrance at the very moment we need to tap into the reserves within.
Jane Vaughn is a Pastor and long-time partner with Women of the Word. Formerly, she worked with the ministry in an administrative capacity. She now lives in Arizona, actively involved in the church she attends, teaching God’s Word in various ways.