Monday, October 7, 2013

Chasing History: The Ten Virgins

Annnnnd we're back! Chasing History. The place where we can gather and learn from each other, growing and exploring community. Every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, we meet over here and talk a little bit about someone we've been learning about in the Bible.

We look at their story and see how it applies to us today.

I don't care who you are or what you've done (or not done) - your story matters and I want to hear it.

Will you join us? Today I'm writing about the parable of the ten virgins but you can link up with whatever story you've been learning! The link-up stays open all week, so feel free to write later and then come back...or plan to join us again on the 21st.

Click here to add the Chasing History button to your blog, and then come back and learn about these women.


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Background Information

*I know. This is strange. It's a parable, not someone's actual life story. However, there's much to be learned from parables, otherwise Jesus wouldn't have told them. 

*Even stranger, it's a parable about ten virgins. Don't click away yet, though, because it's not what you think. It's about being prepared when Jesus comes back, yes...but it's also about just plain being prepared. For whatever He calls us to do, whomever He calls us to love (that's everyone, by the way). 

*This parable follows immediately after Jesus talked about the day and hour of His return being unknown to all.

So, What Happened?

It says in Matthew 25:1 that the kingdom of heaven will at that time (meaning a time in the future) be like ten virgins who all have oil lamps that are setting out to meet the bridegroom. 

Hold up. What's a bridegroom, right? A groom is just the shortened version of the word bridegroom. Basically, a bridegroom is a man who is about to be married.

So, back to the story. Five of the girls are wise and five are foolish. The wise ones took oil in jars with them on their journey, but the five foolish girls didn't bring any oil along. Verse 5 says, "The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep." Then a cry rings out that the bridegroom had arrived. They woke up and were going to go meet him, but the oil had run out in the lamps of the foolish girls.

They asked the wise girls to share their oil, but they (wisely) said:


'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'

At first, this sounds so rude to me. But in all reality, if they were to give every drop of their oil to the other women, they would have nothing at all left, either. It would be a reversal of positions. I will say, though, that I don't get at.all. why they can't just invite them along. Maybe it's just me and maybe I don't understand the culture (okay, I totally don't understand the culture), but it seems like they could all share an oil lamp and walk (run) to the bridegroom together.

But. It's a parable. So I should probably just stick to the story. :)

While the five foolish virgins were on their way to buy more oil, the bridegroom arrived.

The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

Later on the other virgins returned and asked them to open the door but he replied, "I tell you the truth, I don't know you." Verse 13 ends this story with:


Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.


What Does This Mean For Me?

This isn't really a wedding and it isn't really a parable about generosity. It's a parable that's meant to get us to WAKE UP and STAY READY.

These women had stayed pure as virgins, waiting for their wedding night and for their bridegroom. They had obviously made this choice and probably worked hard at times to remain pure.

Did they become so focused on purity that they forgot about the small but crucial things needed to stay prepared?

Do I look so close at one thing in my life, waiting in anticipation for it, that I miss the joys of the little things, the gifts of the every day?

Do I look so far into the distant future that I'm not present in this moment, in the here and now?

Do I forget about the all important little things because I'm too worried about the big stuff?

What are we letting slip us by?

Five women thought ahead, thinking through all that would be necessary for the journey. They didn't know how long it would take, so they stocked up, prepared to wait as long as necessary.

I think sometimes I'm so hopeful that He's going to work on my timetable, according to my plan, that I don't want to ever let the thought slip in that maybe I'm going to be hanging out waiting for a little bit.

There's just nothing about waiting that sounds fun to me...but if I look back on my life, it's in the waiting seasons that I've grown, been challenged, and seen His goodness and faithfulness firsthand.

As these women waited they became drowsy, and just like the disciples in the garden before Jesus is crucified, they fall asleep.

I don't want this to be said of me. I never want my Story to include, "God was up to something so cool and amazing. He showed up and moved mountains, but Kaitlyn was preoccupied with getting good grades and being super involved. In fact, she was so busy that she just about missed Him."

Maybe "sleeping" doesn't mean laying down or being lazy. Maybe it's just being so preoccupied and busy with other things that we miss what's right in front of us.

I don't want to be so content and focused on the good that I am blind to the best.

I want to be ready. I want to sit in anticipation, but not idly waiting. The 10 virgins fell asleep, but 5 of them were prepared for His coming.

I want to be ready, no matter what is around the bend. Good or bad or a season of waiting, I want to be willing to drop it all when I hear His voice.

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