They say that there are two kinds of drivers. The first says, “Look the fuel gauge is on half full, where’s a petrol station?” The other says, “Yeah, I see the gauge is on empty, but I know my car!” Somebody suggested that these two people are usually married to each other. The parable of the 10 virgins (Mt.25:1-13) is Jesus’ way of saying, ‘If you want to follow me home, you had better not run out of fuel. Otherwise, you will be locked out!’ The ten virgins were to keep vigil until the groom arrived. Five of them came prepared with extra oil for their lamps in case of an extended wait, five decided that they would make do with what they had.
The message is clear: If you are ready when Jesus returns you will be accepted into heaven, but if for some reason you are not ready when he returns, no amount of excuses will stop you from being locked out. Jesus would have failed miserably at the average twenty-first century seminary with an attitude like that. In our ‘nobody fails’ society, it is assumed that heaven is open to all; no matter what! All need not worry, just come as you are. Atheist, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and a myriad of Christian churches bearing no resemblance to the Biblical pattern. But Jesus is cutting it even closer than that. He is talking about those who know the way, are on the way, and are in earshot of the destination. Remember, all ten virgins feel asleep while waiting, but only five were wise enough to be ready for his arrival. Staying focused meant that there came a point where helping their indolent counterparts would have cost them entry into the wedding feast. The five foolish virgins neglected their duties of preparation. Tragically, their pleas for entry fell on deaf ears on their return. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Jesus is on his way. We have been warned!