Today's Bible Reading: Matthew 25
Selected Biblical Text
1 "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 "At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' 7 "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 9 "'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.' 10 "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. 11 "Later the others also came. 'Lord, Lord,' they said, 'open the door for us!' 12 "But he replied, 'Truly I tell you, I don't know you.' 13 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matthew 25:1-13 NIV)
Reflecting and Thinking
This chapter is part of the fifth discourse (Chapters 24-25). (Some people believe we should limit the fifth discourse to Chapter 25.) There are three generally well-known sections: the parable of the ten virgins (today's selected text), the parable of the talents, and the judgment scene where the sheep and goats are separated. The point of each of these stories is similar -- the bridegroom-owner-King is coming back so you should use the opportunities of today well. To take advantage of the opportunities of the present is to be prepared for the return of the King.
Perhaps one of the biggest problems with opportunities is that they go unrecognized. Some opportunities do not look much like opportunities. They sometimes come in disguise; they sometimes look unimportant or useless. Because we think there will be other opportunities we miss the urgency of the moment. The three narratives of this chapter bring into focus all of these human tendencies and more. What spiritual opportunities have you missed in the past? Will you resolve today to look for opportunities and take full advantage of them?
Dear God, give me today sensitivity to the opportunities and the open doors you provide. Help me see the potential of those moments so that I might respond in the spirit and love of Jesus. Help me discern the times so that I will be prepared, having used the resources you gave. Help me accomplish the will of Jesus my King, I pray in his name, Amen.