Sep 18, 2009, 4:49 AM
Parents use this medium a lot to draw attention to the risks and dangers that their offspring are exposed to over a habit or practice. When we turn a deaf ear, more often than not, we end up where it was feared we would fall.
Our Lord Jesus in his teachings underlined that somewhere down the line we have to pay attention because a division, split or separation is bound to occur in our relationship with the kingdom of God. He used two parables to illustrate this; the parable of the ten virgins (bride’s maids) and the parable of the weeds. Parables often have hidden meanings, but they also tell a story that the simpleton cannot miss. The parable of the ten virgins points to our state of readiness in any given circumstance.
Ten virgins were poised to welcome a bridegroom and his party. No doubt they must have been all dressed up for the occasion. Unaware when the bridegroom and party would show up, they had brought their lamps with them; five brought oil refills just in case their lamps ran out, the other five did not think it necessary. Somehow the bridegroom’s party arrived well after the expected time – in fact the delay had run into midnight. Meanwhile, the virgins had already fallen asleep and had to wake up to the shout of ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ (Matthew 25:6)
It was there and then that five of the virgins who had not brought additional oil realised that the oil in their lamps was running very low. Appeals made to their counterparts were unsuccessful because they argued ‘there may not be enough for both of us.’ So the five foolish virgins had to go in search of oil. By the time they returned however the bridegroom had arrived and “the five who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.” (verse 10) Another appeal for the gates to be opened was met with; “I tell you the truth, I do not know you.” (verse 12)
Unwarily, the five foolish virgins did not bother about the likely outcome of a delay; they assumed that nothing would be amiss, the bridegroom will show up on time and the wedding banquet will conclude before their lamps would run out. They took a chance and were caught in the trap of unforeseen circumstances. The parable concludes with; “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (verse 13)
Closed gates mean rejection and separation. The bride’s maids were bona fide guests to the wedding banquet but at the time the guests were being ushered in they were nowhere to be seen. How sad it would be when the bridegroom of the church would come for his bride and we cannot get in as a result of our unpreparedness. The challenge the ten virgins faced was their state of readiness. The parable calls for vigilance or else we shall not gain access into God’s kingdom. It is important that we enter through that gate. Keep watch! Stay alert! Be vigilant! Keep your eyes open! Discern the truth from falsehood. Take off that blindfold!
Five of the virgins envisaged a situation where their lamps would run out if in case the bridegroom’s arrival was delayed and they made adequate provision to avoid any surprises. They had foresight and planned ahead. They did not have to react to a situation, it was already contained and under control. Anticipating the future and planning ahead is a wise move and that was the step the wise virgins took.
The parable of the weeds.
Weeds are not only a menace but equally a hindrance to food crops. Their effects on crop produce have reached such heights that industrial companies have gone to great lengths in search of instant but lasting remedies. However, the outcome has not always been successful. Weeds we shall always have with us, but here’s what Jesus recommended as treatment.
A farmer planted wheat, but as it progressed his farm hands observed that weeds that they did not plant were growing alongside the wheat. When the matter was reported to the landlord, he saw that as an enemy’s ploy. He ruled that instead of uprooting the weeds they should be left to grow until it was time for the harvest. The reason he advanced was the fear that in pulling the weeds, “… you may root up the wheat with them.” (Matthew 13:) So as a prudent measure, the weeds and the wheat became strange bed fellows until the harvest. “Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.” (verse 30)
On earth, the good and bad people will cohabit until the day our Lord Jesus returns. At his second coming, he will take his own with him and the wicked; those who mocked and refused to believe, will be left behind. May you not be counted among them!
Now is the accepted time of grace. Jesus is saying “Come!” Salvation is free; it is neither bought nor earned. Our Lord Jesus is offering it to you free of charge; “Only believe and you shall be saved!” Spiritual preparation for the kingdom is now, tomorrow may be too late.
John the Baptist, the forerunner to the Messiah, said of him; “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear the threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12) Get the picture?The invitation is to all, rsvp (respond) now.