It was a few days before Halloween and the McKinleyville High School Panthers football team was facing off with our rivals in Fortuna. I debated whether to go to the game or to a costume party at church, finally settling on the party. After all, in the four years the school had existed we had yet to win a game, and it was always such a let-down after all the excitement of the pep rallies to ride home in a bus full of disappointed kids.
The party had not been so great and the next day I was already wishing I’d gone to the game when I ran into a friend. I casually asked, “So, how bad was the score this time?” But no, our team had finally won, and the celebration was—well, quite a celebration; and I’d missed it.
As I read the story of the ten virgins recently I recalled that weekend and realized that I had been like one of the five who were unprepared. I had gotten tired of waiting and had stopped watching for the promised win that would surely come eventually; settling for something else because I didn’t have enough faith in my team. But my disappointment was nothing compared to that of those who do not remain alert for the coming of the Lord—they will pay a much higher price than just missing out on the celebration of a winning game.
Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: “Behold, the bridegroom is coming;go out to meet him!” Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise answered, saying, “No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.” And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, “Lord, Lord, open to us!” But he answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.” Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.