"But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’"
When going up Waterman Drive toward Lake Arrowhead on a snowy day, there is always a line that forms at the top of the mountain. The line is not due to the weather, but to police stopping cars to ensure they have chains on their tires. Many will wait for hours without chains to get through. When police identify that they don’t have the chains, drivers are immediately sent back down the mountain to purchase chains in order to get through. A frustrating experience for all.
While many may be quick to experience empathy for both the drivers and the foolish bridesmaids in Matthew 25, this is not what Matthew 25 is about. Matthew 25 is about a reasoned preparation.
For the driver:Why did you not bring chains? Did you not watch the weather? For the bridesmaids with the lamps: Why did you not bring oil for the lamp?
This text reminds readers to not only be prepared, but to be reasonable in your preparation. Of course drivers are going to need chains to get up the mountain! Of course the bridesmaids with the lamps are going to need oil! This is well within reason!
With all humility I approach this text with some questions and invite you to do the same. If Jesus were sitting next to me, what am I not prepared for in my faith that would be unreasonable? Am I prepared to love my enemy? Am I prepared to engage with my neighbors? Am I prepared to pursue justice? Am I prepared to live joyfully? Am I prepared to care for the widow, or those experiencing homelessness? Am I prepared to give away all that I have?
This is the challenge of this text. To read it through the lens of the foolish bridesmaids and not through the lens of the wise bridesmaids. Much reflection will be due if one does so, and I hope that you will engage in such a way this day.
Art: Dea Jenkins | (untitled) | watercolor | 2020