Monday, June 17, 2024
Monday, June 17, 2024
HomeAll The NewsYou Will Fall Asleep, So Charge Your Phone Now

You Will Fall Asleep, So Charge Your Phone Now

I don’t know if I will ever learn my lesson. There have been so many times when I have gone to bed, knew I was tired and would fall asleep any minute, told myself I better plug my phone in to charge right away in case I fell asleep and then woke up to an uncharged and dead phone. Am I alone? I know I’m not completely alone — my wife does this way more than me!

This too often reality in our house is the modern twist to an ancient parable told by Jesus — the Parable of the 10 Virgins.

You’re likely familiar with the Parable of the 10 Virgins or 10 Bridesmaids found in Matt. 25:1-13. This parable is part of the application portion of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse which is recorded in Matthew 24-25, begins with the disciples asking Jesus what the signs of the end of the age would be. Jesus then embarked on the greatest prophecy conference in history. He walked through the signs and then pivoted to application. He gave a “now this is how you should live.” It seems He was far more concerned with His followers living in light of His return versus them knowing all the details. The end of Matthew 24 contains a few short parables, then there are seemingly three parables in Matthew 25. (I say seemingly because I think there’s a possibility the third isn’t a parable, but rather a return to the events of the end of the age. I’m still wrestling with that one.)

The first of the possible three parables is the one of the 10 bridesmaids. Jesus’ parable follows the Jewish wedding custom of that day where a groom-to-be would come pay a dowry for his bride-to-be, then return to his family’s home to add a room. When the groom-to-be’s father said the room was done and it was time (for only the father knows) the groom-to-be would grab his wedding party and go get his bride and her wedding party. Therefore, the bride and her party needed to be ready.

In the parable, Jesus said, all 10 fell asleep, but 5 had extra oil for their lamps and the other 5 did not (Or as in our modern twist, 5 had plugged their phones in to charge before they went to sleep and 5 didn’t.)

The five who had oil in their lamps were able to go to the wedding banquet. The five who were without oil had to go searching for oil and missed the wedding banquet.

Five were ready. Five weren’t.

Five rose to the occasion. Five wilted. 

All 10 were asleep.

I’ve always thought of this parable and preached it as if it talked about generally being ready for Jesus, and that this boiled down to being saved or not. It is a Biblical reality that is true, but may not be the fullest interpretation of this parable.

We are only saved by faith in Christ. That’s it. I’m not arguing anything different, but I believe the parables need to be interpreted in context. I think it’s more accurate to understand that this parable relates to how to live in the last days. Ultimately, being ready for Jesus is to be saved, but I’m not sure if that is all that is meant by being ready here. I don’t know exactly what is meant by oil either. There is a biblical precedent for the oil being the Holy Spirit, which again we receive in full at our salvation. Though again that’s true, I feel as though, in the context of this parable, the oil might be “what is needed to faithfully persevere in this time.”

As you can tell I’m wrestling through some of those details, but one detail I’m not struggling with is that they all fell asleep. I hadn’t caught this until a couple of years ago when a friend came to me with this detail. All the bridesmaids fell asleep awaiting the groom. I believe it’s highly likely Jesus is indicating most all of His followers will be asleep and not watching for Him. They don’t have to be because Jesus said just a few verses before that His followers needed to respond to the signs of the last days by staying awake — by being alert and watchful. Yet, the default for the follower of Christ is to have grown weary in the wait and be asleep. Is this why we don’t focus on the end of the age much?

Though most all will be asleep a percentage will have “charged” their phone before they fell asleep. They had stocked up on oil. They had put wood on the fire. They had saved. So, though they missed the signs they were still ready to be faithful in the challenges.

Though I have lots of questions about this parable — we must see that we can and likely will be (maybe are) asleep. But let’s make sure we’ve got what we need in case we do. Let’s plug in our phones for we will likely fall asleep.

I don’t think we have to wonder much about what this might look like — we’ve seen a microcosm of it with COVID. We mostly all were asleep that something like COVID could come and impact our churches. Therefore, like the parable, we all had fallen asleep. The storm of COVID brought challenges that woke us up. Nearly half proved to have had oil and half didn’t.

Today, nearly three years down the road from that first Sunday of not gathering, only 40%-60% have returned to our churches. Is it possible that the ones who fell asleep with the oil returned? COVID was a bad time, but we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Jake is the newest state missionary and would love to share about the work in Northwest Arkansas and encourage your church to stand firm. (