This parable is a bit strange to our western customs. The wedding ceremony described here was very common in Israel. Marriage was a huge celebration that lasted days and one of the fun elements was keeping people in suspense as to when the groom and his party would arrive. The bridesmaids knew this and all had the opportunity to be prepared with extra oil. Those who were fully devoted to the new couple made sure they were ready. Those who were less invested, didn’t.
Jesus wants you and me to understand at least two things from this story: (1) He will be returning. This is certain and when He does those of us who have accepted Him as our Savior and Lord will celebrate with Him forever. (2) Only those who are genuinely devoted to Him will join the celebration. All ten of the bridesmaids appeared ready but only those who had taken the time and interest to get additional oil were really devoted. They weren’t going to let anything prevent them from joining the party. The five who weren’t prepared showed that they were divided in their loyalties. They were somewhat interested, but not fully.
New Hope’s mission statement is “to help all people become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.” Full devotion means that Jesus is our #1 relationship and priority. This kind of devotion is demonstrated, not merely by attending church or believing certain truths, but on a much deeper level. Full devotion leads me to put Jesus’ interests above my own in all areas of my life – thoughts, actions, attitudes and pursuits.
As you and I read this parable throughout the week, lets ask God to show us how we can be like the five who were ready.