11 “Much later, the other virgins, the silly ones, showed up and knocked on the door, saying, ‘Master, we’re here. Let us in.’12 “The Bridegroom answered, ‘Do I know you? I don’t think I know you.’ 13 “So stay alert. You have no idea when he might arrive.” [Matthew 25:11-13; NRSV]
This parable of the ten virgins is part of the eschatological section of Matthew’s Gospel. The believers of The Way of Jesus were trying to make sense of waiting for the return of Christ. They thought it was imminent, but they were still waiting. Just as we are still waiting. But does that mean that there is nothing to do in the meanwhile? The author of this parable is quick to categorize the virgins: smart and silly or foolish and wise. The difference between the two groups is preparations. One group prepared for the wait, while the others did not. So, what are we to do as we wait for Christ’s return? We should keep our lamps trimmed and always ready for the bridegroom’s return. That is, we should be vigilant about doing the work to which we have been called. We are to be like salt, enhancing the world around us. We are to be a light in our world so filled with darkness. As we await the return of the bridegroom, let’s be about the work of making this world a better place for all.
Holy God, it is not easy to wait. It is not easy to always be about your work either. So, help me know how to replenish the oil in my lamp so that my light will shine brightly every day as I serve in your name. Amen.