I think in this parable it is important for us to understand the consequences of being unprepared for the task that you have been chosen to do. The story also makes the point that some things simply cannot be shared. You can borrow your friend’s study notes, but not the hours they put in studying for the test. You can borrow your neighbour’s lawnmower, but not their peace of mind. A student can borrow a friend’s merit badges but not their character. You can borrow a friend’s boat but not the skills required for sailing it and you can borrow someone’s Bible but not the faith they have nor the relationship they have with God.
Oil is at the heart of the parable. It seems to me that we are like the lamps and the oil in this parable is a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, present and anointing our lives so as to enable us to do the will of God, to step up to the plate whenever and wherever God calls us to service. This faith and relationship is the spiritual fuel that enables our lives to shine for Christ. In other words the story reminds us that we must be spiritually prepared if we are to serve Christ and if we are to be part of his kingdom.
Someone once said: “Live as though Jesus is coming back today & plan as though he is not coming back for 100 years.” This means that we must constantly be ready for Jesus and like a good athlete keep training so that we might shine spiritually in any task he sets us.
Perhaps replenishing our oil supplies requires setting time aside every day whether we feel like it or not, to be attentive and reflective on where we are in our relationships with God and with others. Perhaps replenishing our oil requires spending time in prayer, speaking to him and paying attention to his voice, reading his word, spending time in worship. Perhaps it is engaging with the wonder and beauty of creation, walking on a beautiful beach, hiking through a forest, sitting on the top of a hill, spending time with those you love and who love you. Filling up your emotional love tank, maximising the precious moments in your life. Spiritual preparedness is an individual matter that requires a voluntary decision on your part.
How will we be prepared to meet the holiness in our lives?
Are we paying attention?