Whenever I read the parable of the 10 Virgins in Matthew 25 I often think of the apostle Peter’s warning in his second letter where he writes, “Scoffers will come in the last days…..saying, “where is the promise of His coming…for all things continue as they were from creation?”” Two immediate questions though come to mind in looking at the ten virgins: Were they waiting? And, were they watching?
First of all, all ten were waiting. They knew that the bridegroom was coming. Even though he should delay, they knew that he was coming. Their dilemma, that the Lord pronounces toward five of them, is not that they were unaware that the bridegroom was coming, they just were just totally unprepared.
And secondly, sadly, only five of the ten were watching. Jesus had earlier warned in Matthew 24:42, “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” Five of the ten were not just waiting…..they were prepared, and they were watching.
Oh, that the church in our generation, would have the same fervor of looking and expecting the return of the Lord, as previous generations have embraced. Even Paul, in the first century, wrote to the young pastor Titus, “Looking for the blessed return of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13) It therefore behooves the church in every generation to have that similar longing for the Lord’s return, and to be living in such a way as would indicate we expect His return at any moment. Anything less than that leaves us in the quandary of the five unprepared virgins in Christ’s parable.
Pastor Donald G. Barnhouse wrote, “The church of our day is made up of the people of God who live in the valley between the mountain of Calvary and the higher mountain of the Lord’s return in glory. The communion table stands in that valley for the symbol of the nourishment of God’s people, and as oft as we eat the bread and drink that cup we look back to the first mountain, showing forth the Lord’s death, and then we turn our gaze to the peak of glory and say, “Till He come.” (1 Corinthians 11:26)
Do not only wait….but watch! A story is told of a Scotch fishing village. After days at sea, the skipper of a fishing boat was bringing his craft back home. As they neared shore, the men on board gazed eagerly toward the dock where a group of their loved ones were waiting for them. The skipper looking through his eye glass began to identify the wives and family of his crew. One man was very anxious because his wife was not there. He left the boat with a heavy heart and trudged up the hill where he could see the light in his cottage was burning bright. As he opened the door, his wife ran to him, saying, “I have been waiting for you!” He replied with a proper rebuke, “Yes, but the other men’s wives were watching for them.”
It is this attitude of watchfulness that the Lord desires us to have as we work and wait for Him. “Blessed are those servants whom the Master, when He comes will find watching. Assuredly I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.” Luke 12:37