Background: Matthew 25:1-13
Key Verse: Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. Matthew 25:13 ESV
Imagine you were going to a wedding reception on a boat. On the wedding announcement, it informed guests that they must arrive thirty minutes before the reception time to secure their seat. Those in charge must check the tickets and identity of every passenger before they are allowed on the boat. The captain will not allow those who arrive late to get on the boat for the reception because he has a fixed schedule. If he held the boat for even one person, they will not meet their set timeline. If they do not meet their set timeline, the newlyweds will not have an opportunity to have their full reception.
After the wedding, you stand around and talk to guests who are not going to the reception. Others you know go to the pier right away. When you look at the time, it is ten minutes from the final check-in. In your mind, you know you can arrive at the pier in ten minutes. You get into your car and rush over. You made it, right? But where is your ticket? You search diligently, but you cannot find it on your person. Finally, you find it on the floor. In your rush, you dropped your ticket. With your ticket in hand, you rush to the pier. However, as you run up, they are closing the gate. You shout that you have your ticket, but they will not let you on the boat. You miss the reception.
In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus shares the parable of the ten virgins. Five virgins are called wise while the other five virgins are called foolish. Each virgin sets out for the wedding feast with their oil lamps in hand. However, the bridegroom did not come at the expected time. They became sleepy, and they slept while they waited. Suddenly, a great announcement came. The bridegroom was there, and entry for the feast was open. To make it to the entrance safely, the virgins needed additional oil. The wise virgins brought extra oil for their lamps. However, the foolish virgins did not. They knew they could not make it to the entrance without the extra light. They needed oil. First, the foolish virgins asked the wise virgins to share their oil with them. The wise virgins refused. They knew they needed all their oil to make it to the entrance. Instead, they suggested that the foolish go buy more oil. The foolish left to buy more oil.
When the foolish virgins returned, the bridegroom had come, invited the wise virgins in, and closed the door to the feast. The foolish virgins asked for entry, but they were not permitted to enter. Instead, the bridegroom said that he did not know them. Jesus emphasized that it is important that we are watchful because we do not know the day or the hour of the coming. This parable talks about the kingdom of God. We think we have time to get prepared, but we should already be prepared. We do not know when our call is coming. If you are not prepared for the calling, where will you go? Yet, if you are like the wise virgins, prepared if the call happened unexpectedly, you never have to worry when the call happens because you are ready.
- Have you ever felt unprepared? Give an example and share why you felt unprepared.
- What are some of the emotions we feel when we feel unprepared?
- Based on a previous time you felt unprepared, what steps did you take to ensure you were not unprepared again?
- What did the wise virgins do that the foolish virgins did not do? How did the wise know to do this?
- When the call came, the wise virgins chose not to share their oil with the foolish. What would have happened had they shared their oil? Should we help people to our detriment?
- Has someone ever made a sacrifice for you because you were unprepared? How did it affect them?
- In this parable, each element of the story has a different meaning. Who do the wise virgins and foolish virgins represent? What does the wedding feast represent? What does the shut door represent?
- When situations happen unexpectedly and we are not prepared, who should take responsibility? Why?
- Do you feel prepared for the final call? Yes or no? What are your next steps?
- It is said that preparation is a way of life. How do you feel you can prepare better for life in general?
What does the bible say about being prepared?
- Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8 ESV
- Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. Proverbs 24:27 ESV
- “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:1-3 ESV
- The wise make preparation.
- The wise consider the effects of a decision.
- “Proper preparation prevents poor performance.” – Charlie Batch