It’s Late, and I Have No Oil

The Parable of the Ten Virgins
1“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

7“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

9” ‘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.’

10“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11“Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’

12“But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’

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

As I thought today about this being Epiphany, this parable came to mind. I definitely feel like one of the wedding party who didn’t plan ahead—I rushed headlong into Advent, ready to prepare, prepare, prepare! However, I wasn’t really ready, and my actions—a lack of writing discipline here, and falling off the beam otherwise—are just the fruits of that lack of preparation.

When I woke up the morning of the 19th, I thought to myself, “It’s all downhill from here.” I’d had my yearly pilgrimage to Nashville. I’d been a part of our concert. Honestly, it felt like Christmas had come and gone already—I’d built so much into stuff before Christmas that I didn’t have much energy for the actual event, much less the immediate aftermath.

But the great thing about grace is that we’re always set back on our feet, dusted off, and encouraged to move forward. We are cared for, loved, and supported—although our unfaithfulness surely doesn’t merit such concern. I am certainly grateful that our God is more faithful than we are—if He weren’t, we’d really be hosed.

Now, if you’ll excuse me … I’ve gotta go find some oil for my lamp to keep it burnin’, burnin’, burnin’ …

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