“And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.” (Matthew 25:7-8)
End to end revelation
This parable has always resonated with me. More than just a hopeful and elated feeling, it carries with it a gravitas that is worth looking at for the stark message (I believe) Jesus is looking to convey. When He speaks of the “wise” virgins unwilling to give of the oil for the reason stated above, the corollary looks like there will be those, while Christian, who would miss out on the bridegroom’s return. Let’s delve a little deeper and begin a little further back.
Take for instance evolution. If you study it out, not knowing God but wanting answers, all of your questions (about “life, the universe and everything”, soul, spirit, God, etc.) can be parried and/or sated with just a few choice books on today’s shelves. Do you wonder about your “soul”? Your “identity” and your personhood? Don’t. It’s all a mirage, a product of your neurons doing their thing. Plain and simple (really complex). “Let us eat and drink for to morrow we die.” Comes to mind. (1 Corinthians 15:32b) Get a few ingredients in place and you’re able to commensurately measure and figure it all out and go on. Try to tell someone steeped in a purely atheistic (anti-theistic) mindset about the God you know and it will go in one ear and out the other after having mingled a bit with all the facts with which they’ve filled their brain. There’s no room for God. There’s also no such thing as love, or “love”. But that’s another story. Point is, unless God does some, how can I say this, “breaking and entering”, there is no way in hell they will ever catch a glimpse of Him. No way but by watching you “walk before [Him]” (Genesis 17:1), I might add. When Jesus says “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35, emphasis mine), it necessarily includes “love” which comes from the heart of God and also a little thing called “Christian community”. Which brings me to my next point.
Bereft of belief
There is this spirit of exclusion that seems to have permeated the church on the homefront. This is not the same as the five “wise” virgins denying the “foolish” oil. It is something altogether different. I believe it starts in the hearts and minds of believers who refuse to allow the Holy Spirit a freer reign in those places. And I am not talking about getting all weird and emotional and drawing attention to yourself for its own sake in the sanctuary. I am talking about a sensitivity that seems to be touted but not truthfully–if that makes sense. To where we smile at the people who walk in on Sunday but have no idea how to minister to them (our brothers and sisters) or even know they need it. Notice that Jesus says the world (i.e. all men and women) will know. There is no other way to know if we are not doing it right. Point to the stars (the Big Bang). The beauty of a sunset or a hummingbird (cosmology, dinosaurs, evolution). The “infallibility” of the Bible (neuroscience, language, storytelling). There is always a reason for unbelief (non-belief, whatever). That is, until someone meets Jesus. It took four-thousand (?) years for God to break through and enter humanity in the form of His Son. And after another two-thousand, there are still believers who do not know up from down. This is what Jesus is getting at when He speaks of “foolish virgins”. You’ve accepted Christ, wonderful. “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God…” (Luke 15:10a) But, as the writer of Hebrews (6:1) exhorts: “let us go on unto perfection…” Allow Him to fill you with the precious oil of the Holy Spirit by giving Him a freer reign in your day and your life. You know God, now talk to the Holy Spirit. Forget about all that came before and dwell with Him in the now. Allowing Him to break off what we are blind to and subsequently enter our lives in a fuller measure will cause the consequences we are meant to bring to our world and our generation. The corollary of which, in this case, is we will be ready for Jesus when He returns (cargo cult).
“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” (Hebrews 4:1)