Monday, July 17, 2006
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, 'Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."
This is one of my favorite parables in the New Testament. It teaches me that taking care of oneself, as it relates to devotion, is more important than helping others who have chosen wrongly. I've always been taught, through church and family, to put others first which is an excellent value. However, there comes a point when giving away something precious (oil, pearls, devotion to the good) (or conforming to carelessness) can leave you out with the foolish, separated from the purest love, choosing second best. Discernment in this area has always been difficult for me given the conditioning (along with my personality) (along with a gift of 'mercy') so I was happy when I discovered this parable. It has broad application for me but devotionally today reminds me to: prepare, choose wisely, preserve the good, and enjoy the wedding feast.
Posted by Fieldfleur at 8:26 AM