“While they went to buy, the Bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” — Mat_25:10.
THE FOOLISH virgins made five great mistakes.
(1)They made no provision for the continuance of their light. It is not enough merely to have the lamp; it must be lit and maintained, because there is something for the fire to feed on. How many there are who are on fire and in earnest during the first stage of their religious life, but they have made no provision for maintaining the flame which has been kindled by the grace of God. They have lamps, but have neglected to take oil. The oil stands for fellowship with the Lord Jesus, for the grace of the Holy Spirit, for the daily study of the Bible, for the kindling communion of worship with fellow-Christians.
(2)They slept. There was a difference between the sleep of the foolish and that of the wise. There are two kinds of sleep. The one arises from a sense of security and trust. Every preparation has been made; all has been done that could be done, and we resign ourselves deliberately to the care of God. So Peter slept in the prison, before the angel came to deliver him. But there is another kind of sleep. The sleep of the sentry, when the foe is stealing up the pass; of the pilot, when the ship is making for the serried teeth of the rocks; of the nurse, when the patient’s life is quivering in the balance. These foolish ones had no right to sleep, when they were so utterly unready to meet the Bridegroom. We must not take things for granted, or say “Peace, peace, when there is no peace!”
(3) They thought they could procure oil from the wise. But the appeal was in vain. Each must bear his own burden of responsibility in the sight of God. We may “buy without money and without price,” but each must appropriate the living grace and power of Jesus for himself.
(4)They thought they could get in; “Lord, Lord, open to us!” But the door was irrevocably closed! “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?”
(5)They thought that the Bridegroom would recognize them. But He said: “I know you not.” Let each ask himself: “Does Jesus know me? Will he recognize me at last?” The only way to be sure, is to kneel at the foot of His Cross until He seals us with the Holy Spirit, and says: “Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name, thou art Mine.”
O Lord, we pray that our lives may be lamps to which Thou shalt supply oil. Help us to be burning and shining lights for this dark world. AMEN.