This summer we put our house on the market. We have sold some houses over the years, but for some reason I had forgotten how stressful the process can be. In our desire to sell our house quickly, we decided to say “yes” every time our realtor asked about a showing, even if it was only in a few hours. That meant we had to keep our house picked up and clean at all times.
It’s not that we are slobs. I like having a place for everything and everything in its place. But, honestly, cleaning and yard work aren’t at the top of our priorities. Sometimes after spending a long day at work, we would rather just kick back and relax. Sometimes we choose to go to bed before the dishes are done. Sometimes we go to work and leave the house in less than tip top shape.
Of course it was during one of those times that we would get a phone call. A potential buyer wanted to look at the house before there was a chance to clean. It didn’t take long before I decided that before I went to work, the house needed to be in show condition. I am not a morning person, so cleaning in the morning can challenge both my body and attitude.
On one such morning, I was helping my daughter make her bed. As I smoothed out the comforter, I heard myself grumbling. Right on its heels, a thought burst forth from my mind. “It’s important to be ready. Remember the parable of the ten virgins.” Suddenly I realized there was something more at play than just being ready to show my house. I immediately apologized to the Lord for my negative attitude and began to ponder the story.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:1-13, NIV).
This parable is so rich with meaning, with many ways we can apply it to our lives. For me personally, it is a reminder to always be ready to follow Jesus, to keep the fire burning for Him. In the midst of life’s demands, I can only thrive by making sure I am like a wise virgin with plenty of oil for my lamp. I must ask myself every day, “What am I ready for? Am I ready for Jesus?”
I must thrive over the long haul by being ready spiritually. What does that look like to me?
Being hungry for the Word of God and living by its truth. Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). May I yearn to hear God’s Word spoken to my heart and mind. As the guide for faith and conduct, may I follow His Word with obedience, devotion, and joy.
Seeking to know Christ more. May I never become satisfied with my relationship with Jesus, thinking I am fine the way I am. May I quickly get rid of bitter, unforgiveness, envy, and the like, and allow the love of Christ to control me. May my desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to be transformed into Christ’s likeness direct my steps every day.
Focusing on God’s kingdom and Christ’s return. Where is my attention? On my own life and comfort or on reaching others with His love? May my actions show that there is more to this life than the here and now. May I willingly sacrifice to see God’s will accomplished.
What are you ready for? Are you prepared to thrive over the long haul in what God has called you to do? What does being ready spiritually look like to you?
Heavenly Father, thank You for the parable of the ten virgins. May my life reflect the five wise virgins who were ready to follow You and do Your will. Help me to thrive in life and in what You have called me to do. Empower me to follow You passionately and to focus on Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.