And the door was shut, Matthew 25:10
Published 9:23 pm Monday, May 22, 2017
By Hal Brady
Sadder words have never been spoken or written.
Jesus tells how ten young women were invited to a marriage feast. Five were wise and five were foolish. The wise women showed their wisdom by planning for the possible delay of the bridegroom. They took extra oil for their lamps so that they would be ready when he came. The foolish women neglected to do so. And while they were waiting, all fell asleep. Suddenly at midnight, a cry went out that the bridegroom was coming. Immediately, the wise women got up and trimmed their lamps. On the other hand, the foolish women recognized that they were out of oil and asked to borrow some. “No!” said the wise, “there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealer and buy some for yourselves.”
So the foolish young women hurried out into the night. But while they were gone the bridegroom came and those who were ready went with him to the feast. The unwise women were excluded. We are told, “And the door was shut.”
In the first place, we see the necessity of being prepared! This parable of Jesus absolutely hinges on the necessity of being prepared. The only real difference between the bridesmaids was the measure of their preparedness. Some had an extra supply of oil, and others did not.
As we know, it is simply not possible to get ready for certain things at the last minute. Unless we have prepared in advance we will not be ready. I think knowledge is one of those things.
As I mentioned earlier, knowledge is one of those things that cannot be acquired at the last minute. It must have been stored up long ago. That is why the time of youth must be a time of learning. It is said that the golden age of memory is from seven to eleven. But be that as it may, it is easier to learn when we are young or younger.
John Maxwell said that when he was growing up his father use to tell him, “You can pay now and play later or you can play now and pay later. But either way, you are going to pay.”
Second, we see that some things cannot be borrowed! Out of oil and unable to borrow any, when the five foolish bridesmaids returned, they found that the door was shut. The point is clear: when a crisis comes we’d better have prepared in advance.
Why? Because there are some things we just can’t borrow.
We can’t borrow someone else’s character. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Emerson is talking about character.
We can’t borrow someone else’s satisfaction. There’s an old legend about an Oriental king who was very unhappy. He summoned a philosopher to ask for advice. The philosopher told him to seek out the most satisfied man in the kingdom and to wear his shirt for a while. But after an exhaustive investigation, when the king found the man, he was so poor that he didn’t even have a shirt. We simply cannot borrow someone else’s satisfaction. Satisfaction is something we have to find ourselves.
We can’t borrow someone else’s faith. A common charge made against our present generations is that we are living on the spiritual capital of our fathers and mothers. What is meant by this? We want the world to be a place where human life is respected, where virtue is honored, where children are safe and where men and women follow the laws of God. Simply stated, we cannot have a world like this unless we have strong churches and men and women who take God seriously.
In our struggling world of today, where are we in this needed effort? We cannot borrow someone else’s faith.
We cannot borrow someone else’s opportunity! A police recruit was asked during the exam, “What would you do if you had to arrest your own mother?” He said, “Call for backup.” He was seizing the opportunity.
That’s the point of this parable. The five wise bridesmaids seized the opportunity.
They were ready when the bridegroom came. The foolish bridesmaids were not. To them, the door was shot. Sadder words have never been spoken or written.