The Five Fools

The point of the parable of the Ten Virgins is to stay vigilant, to wait for the coming of the Bridegroom.  I wonder if the foolishness of the five foolish virgins wasn’t that they had no oil, but that the lack of oil became for them a stumbling block in their waiting.

The wise virgins had flasks of oil, the foolish virgins did not.  But when the Bridegroom comes our Lord does not put in His mouth the praise of the wise for having extra and enough oil.  The oil didn’t get them into the marriage feast; the fact that they waited for the Bridegroom gave them entrance.

The foolish virgins wouldn’t have known if they had enough oil.  The cry went out at midnight, “The Bridegroom comes!” but was it an hour, two hours, at dawn? Why go then and buy oil?  Why not stick it out in the darkness, trusting in the mercy of the One for whom they wait?  Why ask for oil from another?  Why not be content that the Lord has given what He has given, and that is enough?

The wise virgins were not Christ-like.  They did not give until it killed them.  They did not give their oil to the fools.  Why?  We say it is because we cannot believe for another, and we equate the oil with faith.  But the oil is not faith.  The oil is a stumbling block.  It caused the wise to be greedy and the fools to give up their wait. What do we care if we have oil?  Does our Lord not say to us that tomorrow is not our worry, that today has sufficient trouble?

The foolish virgins were fools because they let what they lacked keep them from greeting the Bridegroom when He came.  And so they were kept from the marriage feast.  The wise were not wise because they had extra oil, but because they waited.

If we lack faith, from whom will be buy it?  No one, it is given.  If we lack faith, we wait for the Merciful One.  If we lack integrity, we wait for the righteous One.  If we lack good works, we wait for the One who fulfills the Law for us.  If we lack peace, we wait for the Prince of Peace.  If we fall asleep, we wait for the One who shall wake us.  Our Lord is greater than us and our lack of oil.  He renews the strength of those who wait upon Him.  When He comes and finds us waiting, He will not say to us, “Yes, you wait; but you doubted now and again, you lived always with the question of whether I would return. You should’ve gotten rid of your doubt first; where is your oil?”  Neither will He say, “Here you are waiting for me, but look at your rags!  Where are your good works?  Where is your oil?  You should have had good works waiting for me.”  When our Lord returns and finds us waiting for Him He will say to us, “Come, blessed by my Father, into the joys of my banquet.”

The expectant waiting is the chief thing. The oil is good, and those who wait for the Lord have enough.  For here is the mystery of it all: The more you wait on the Lord, the more you eagerly expect Him, gathering with His Body and eating the same, drinking His Blood, and hearing and believing His promises, the more oil He gives you and the more you realize that nothing but waiting on Him really matters.  That is what faith is, to wait for the Lord who has purchased you, who has redeemed you, who gives you His mysteries as proofs and signs of His will for you, and who comes again.

Come, Lord Jesus, come. Amen.

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3 Responses

  1. I like it.

  2. Dear Pastor,
    “The point of the parable of the Ten Virgins is to stay vigilant, to wait for the coming of the Bridegroom.” Right! Everything you said about faith and works is true. But I think you are soft-peddling the meaning of the oil: Wise=have oil; foolish=no oil; all speaking to the foolishness of not believing He’s coming because of delay. Ironically, the having oil is a work that comes from faith! (James understood Jesus). It’s the theme of this parable, (and many parables of the Kingdom) and a theme in Scripture again & again. Aaron didn’t believe Moses would return because of delay, and the whole time the Lord was briefing Moses on Aaron’s ordination! It goes back to Original Sin: suspicion of God, the source of love. The parable means: “Don’t be a fool, love! I said I’m coming- would I lie to you?”
    God bless you, my brother.

  3. Interesting…….

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