Nuggets of Hope 18 – Go Buy Oil

Go Buy Oil.

There are some who would say that this is a great time to buy oil stocks, when prices are at historic lows due to the COVID-19 crisis. That may be good financial advice, but it’s not the focus of this blog. Rather, in the midst of the current crisis, I want to encourage you to buy oil for the lamp of your spirit, while you still have time.

It’s clear from Scripture that before the return of the Lord, pressures will increase in society. The current crisis is not the end of the age, but it is a reminder that God has promised to shake all things prior to the return of the Lord. How we position our hearts is of the utmost importance.

In Matthew 24-25, Jesus is teaching on the end of the age, and he tells a parable to encourage us to keep our lamp of faith burning. The context of the parable is a typical first century Jewish wedding.

In a traditional Jewish wedding, after a year of betrothal during which the bride and groom were to remain separate and sexually pure, the groom would go to the bride’s parent’s home at an undisclosed time, to fetch her, and bring her to his father’s house where a place had been prepared for her. The friends of the bridegroom would await his return. When he returned with his bride, there was a loud shout of rejoicing, and the wedding festivities could begin.

The ten young women in Jesus’ parable were among those awaiting the bridegroom’s return. They were all invited to the wedding festivities but in the end, only five of the ten made it to the feast. It got late, they got sleepy, and five of them ran out of oil for their lamps. While they went to get more oil, the bridegroom came, the wedding feast began, and they missed it. Misty Edwards tells the story in this powerful song.

Jesus describes five of the young women as wise, and five as foolish. The foolish ones didn’t bring extra oil, but the wise ones did. The wise ones wouldn’t share their oil with the foolish ones, because they didn’t want to miss the wedding feast. Jesus doesn’t criticize them for this. In fact, he praises them.

So what has all this got to do with us, you may ask? Plenty. In the midst of this pandemic, it’s easy to get frustrated as we wait for it to be over. But the boredom of waiting is actually a spiritual opportunity which we shouldn’t miss. Jesus has instructed us to stay watchful and spiritually alert as we wait for His return. The key question for us is whether we will stay awake, with our lamps lit, ready for that day. Your lamp of faith and prayer can’t run on someone else’s oil. You have to have your own relationship with God. You can’t borrow someone else’s. The Holy Spirit is available to all believers, but some cultivate His presence in their lives while others run mostly on their own resources. It’s up to us whether we invest in our relationship with God. No-one else can give you their prayer life.

The pandemic will end eventually. Other crises will follow – some bigger, some smaller. Every challenging season that tests our faith is an opportunity to check our oil supply. God is willing to give us all the oil we need, but we have to seek it from Him – and it’s best not to wait for the last minute. If we want to be able to stay steady in challenging times, it’s up to us to develop the stamina we need. If you haven’t been cultivating your life in God, this is a great time for a reset. Right now we still have time to go buy oil for our lamps. Don’t waste the opportunity. One day, it will be too late.



3 thoughts on “Nuggets of Hope 18 – Go Buy Oil”

  1. In my reading & understanding of scripture, Jesus paid the price/penalty for our sins at the Cross. We are made right with God & reconciled to Him, as our precious Jesus/the sacrificial lamb took the wrath of God upon Himself for the sins of the world. Those who receive Him/believe in His sacrifice & that God raised Him from the dead will be saved & raised, justified, glorified etc. Its good news! Not based on our works…our efforts…laws. He is the assurety of a better covenant. Im hoping that Jesus wont shut the door in my face due to my lack, because if its about me & my efforts, then Jesus died for nothing & in vain…& Gods “gift & grace” of salvation has been taken back. I must say thats not what i read is for the Church age/Age of Gods grace. In this gospel book Matthew Jesus is teaching preaching to lost house of Israel/& pre-cross?. The teachings are hard & rules focused. If you dont forgive, God wont forgive you; if you dont do this/that, you wont enter Kingdom of Heaven. If if if…etc. My question: is the Gospel (good news) based on our performance or on what Jesus did at the cross OR both? If its based on my actions, my striving, my goodness, my preparedness, then i have no chance in being saved & its no longer good news to me. As I read epistles, i see Gods grace, salvation by faith in Christ alone, I see Jesus is author, perfecter of my faith–nothing is from me in reality. I see Gods love which brings me to my knees, in reverence to a caring God who paid my penalty. I see that our wirks will be rewarded in heaven. A closing-door Jesus is not the one who loved me so much that He sacrificed His life for me on that cross. There seems to be a great chasm between the doctrine Jesus (pre-cross) taught to Jews in gospel books & what His chosen Paul came teaching, preaching to Gentiles (put yr faith in JC death, burial, resurrection), as outlined in epistles. Please feel free to comment-id love to know yr thoughts on this. Im trusting HS will eventually guide me into truth on this question, as i ask Him & He brings people on my path. To God be all the glory! 🖐❤

  2. Hi Jill,

    You’ve raised a lot of points in your comment, but I’ll just respond to a couple of them here.

    First, I agree that everything in our life in Christ is a gift. But it’s a gift that we have to choose to receive. This is a profound mystery – but both sides of the mystery are clearly there in Scripture. And they’re there in Paul’s epistles as well as in the gospels, including Matthew. To take just one example of a very gracious message from Jesus that’s recorded in Matthew – “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28-30). And to take just one example (again, one of many) from Paul’s epistles – showing that we need to choose to take hold of the gift of grace and do something with it : “Not that I have already obtained this, or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” (Philippians 3:12-16).

    Second, the whole gospel is for both Jews and Gentiles. Paul made this very clear in Romans 1:16. “First to the Jew, then to the Gentile”. And although Matthew is written primarily to Jews (Jewish believers – remember Matthew wrote decades after Jesus’ resurrection) it contains much grace for both Jews and Gentiles.

    In the same way, the author of Hebrews who says that Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith also challenges us (Hebrews 10:26-36) to endure and not lose what we have labored for.

    I completely agree with you that salvation is a free gift, but it’s a gift that we have to choose and embrace. It’s completely free in the sense that we can’t earn it,but it will cost us our life. Paul makes it very clear that anyone who truly understands the gospel cannot continue in sin. Check out Romans 6. Both sides of this message are found in the entire New Testament although the different authors do have their own emphases.

    The Jesus who calls us to persevere and grow in prayer and holiness is the same one who gave his life for us and loves us fiercely. He taught parables (like the one of the ten virgins and their lamps) because He loves us, not because He hates us. He hasn’t changed. He’s merciful to those who have stumbled and failed. He wants us to persevere and triumph in the tests that are coming. That’s the reason for this message. So if we are struggling with the message of perseverance in prayer and holiness because we don’t think we’ve done well enough – then we can be assured that he is kind to the broken. But if we’re struggling because we don’t really think he’s worthy of our all – then maybe we don’t understand his grace. If we do understand His grace we will want to respond with everything that’s in us. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”. We were made for this – and He can enable us to love Him with our whole being.

    God bless you as you continue to seek Him.

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