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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

A Wedding Story Not About the Dress!

Matthew 25:1-13

Everything is supposed to be perfect on your wedding day. However, no matter how well you plan, the unexpected happens.

My mother contracted a well-known Kansas City photographer for my wedding pictures because of a long-standing work relationship. But when it was time for pre-wedding photos, there was no photographer on site. Mother called only to find out that somehow, someone forgot to schedule my wedding on the calendar. The owner did more than apologize. He grabbed his equipment and promised to be on site within 15 minutes.

It wasn’t a photography oversight in the parable for today. It was an oil shortage.

In Jesus’ time, people brought their own light for an evening occasion. It was a small hand-held, clay lamp with enough oil to keep it burning. Think of it as the pre-cursor to flashlights. Most of our homes have plenty of them.

The wedding feast took place in the home of the groom. The day of the wedding, the bridegroom took his friends with him to get his bride. They made a joyful parade through the village streets to his house for the wedding feast. Most weddings took place at night because they were celebrated during the hot summer. The ten ladies were waiting to connect with the bridal procession. Their small, hand-held, oil lamps were important for safety and their reputation. No self-respecting woman walked the streets at night without a lamp.

Something delayed the wedding party and the ten females fell asleep. The noise of the wedding procession woke them. That’s when five of them realized they were almost out of oil and tried to borrow from their companions.

Most of the time scripture advocates generosity. However, not here because generosity won’t solve neglect. The five run into the village to beg or borrow oil. With oil in their lambs, they make it to the bridegroom’s home late only to find the door locked. Whoever opened the door didn’t recognize the women and would not admit them. The five women were very close to the celebration, but not close enough.

Preparedness can become an addiction. Hoarding is not the same as being prepared. Hoping someone rescues your unpreparedness is not the answer, either. Besides, being unprepared when you know what you need made these women unnecessarily vulnerable.

What should our spiritual preparedness look like? What are the truth arrows we need to remember?

1. We can’t borrow spiritual readiness.

Spiritual readiness is about our connection to the Bridegroom. Our ticket is our heart. We present our heart and all its loves for our place at the Wedding Feast. It is the heart that God has lived in, cleaned, repurposed, and empowered that grants us admission. Being prepared does not depend on how much we’ve done for God, but how much we’ve let God do in us.

2. Readiness is our daily reality.

We don’t plan for a far-off event. We live tomorrow’s reality today. It means we take care of relationships. We don’t postpone forgiveness. We end each day with a clear heart before God. We don’t blame our parents, our church, or anyone else for anything. We remember that God is our most important present reality. We live that reality daily.

3. We don’t live in fear; we live by faith.

Faith is the hold we have on God and He has on us. Faith is anchored in the unfailing character and integrity of God and His Word. Culture doesn’t change who God is. Our woundedness doesn’t change who God is. Nothing changes Who He is. But when we allow His unfettered access to everything in our heart, He changes us. It involves the way we think about our world today and what will happen tomorrow. We live firmly planted on this earth, but our heart holds a ready ticket for what God is planning.

We are all waiting for the Bridegroom. The question we all must answer is this: Are we prepared to live in this present age with a readied heart as our ticket? Or another way to ask the question: How long can our lamps keep burning?

If you want to take the story deeper, here's a five minute Bible study for you:

Then, answer the following questions based on what you already do or what you need God's help to do.

1. How does Peter suggest we live prepared? Underline the components. Which ones do you need to revisit?

I Peter 1:13-15, NLT

13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.

2. What lesson about preparedness does Jesus teach with the servant-master model? What are the key components? How do you incorporate them into your life?

Matthew 24:44-46, NLT

44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. 45“A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 46 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward.

3. What practices keep our lamps burning?

Luke 12:35-36, NLT

35 Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks.

4. What are we to be prepared for now?

2 Timothy 2:21, NLT

21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

5. What does Peter tell us to be ready for. How prepared are you? How can you prepare?

I Peter 3:15-16, NLT

If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way.

If you want to download this as a 2-page worksheet, click here:

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