Do you have oil? What I mean is, do you have oil in the Matthew 25 sense?
In the parable of the 10 virgins, Jesus makes it crystal clear that the essential need of the church at the end of the age is…oil. It’s kind of a strange thought when taken at face value. Perhaps other things jump to mind as critical components for our life at the end of the age… i.e. Faith, Anointing, Power, Evangelism, Mercy, Perseverance, etc… Instead, the essential need of the church at the end of the age is oil.
If oil is critical, essential for us to obtain, it begs the question…Do you have it? How much do you have? Enough? Enough to keep your lamp burning brightly at midnight, the darkest hour? How do you know?
The context of the parable helps us to grasp it’s full import. Jesus spoke it to His disciples as part of the Olivet Discourse, His key teaching about the end of the age. When asked about the signs of His coming, Jesus gave specific indicators(Mat 24) that would mark the season of His return. He then gave some parables to depict the nature of things at the time of His Second Coming. The Parable of the 10 virgins depicts the status of the church in that season.
In the parable He contrasts those whom He calls foolish with those He calls wise. What’s the difference? The wise prepared and bought enough oil to keep their lamps burning at the darkest hour of the night, while the fools are found unprepared, unable to sustain their flame.
A few verses earlier Jesus stated that many will be offended, their love growing cold, because of the persecution they will face at the end of the age (Mat 24:12-13). Here in the parable He portrays love growing cold by the picture of the foolish virgins’ lamps burning out.
So what’s the point? The virgins represent Christians. The oil represents intimacy with Jesus. The Bridegroom is Jesus. The flame in the lamps represents a Christians’ life in God. The simple, yet penetrating truth is this: those with a depth of intimacy with Jesus will be able to maintain a burning heart of passion in the darkest hour of human history, those without intimacy will not.
I am, once again, in recognition of my own need for oil. Rather than becoming busied with multiple pursuits or distracted even by good things, I feel the urgency to draw back, sit at His feet and hear His voice. Without intimacy with Jesus my Christianity is pale, thin, shallow. If my walk isn’t passionately aflame because of the revelation of His love, what then is it made of? I don’t want to do anything unless my heart is aflame with His passion and fire.
I am burdened by our habit in the church of busying ourselves with many events, activities, and meetings while we tend to neglect our first Love. We tend to value activity for God over intimacy with God. This practice will find us sorely lacking in a day of crisis.
How bout you, hows your oil? If you find that it’s lacking, I urge you get oil while you can. Oil can be obtained only one way… you have to buy it(Mat 25:9-10). Buying oil is not striving or performing but rather pursuing God with a heart of longing to know Him intimately. Buying oil ultimately requires slowing down the activity of your life in order to engage in hours of loving devotion with the Lord.
Beloved, the essentiality of this issue cannot be overstated! Some may disdain a life that is ‘wasted’ at Jesus’ feet. Oh, but how obvious the wisdom of that lifestyle will be when the chief need of the hour is oil! Know this, the hour is coming when it will be too late to get oil. Do it now. I encourage you seek the Lord while He may be found. Make the necessary changes to your schedule, to your lifestyle, that will translate into hours spent in long and loving devotion with the One who loved you first.