Numbers have significance in the bible. Consider particularly 3 (Jesus inner circle), 6 (number of man), 7 (days of creation).
I was reading today about the parable of the ten virgins. For those of you who don’t know the story, it is a parable that Jesus told about women who were waiting for the bridegroom to come for his wedding. Others have discussed the significance of the whole story.
I’m different (have we established this already?).
I got stuck on the fact that there were five wise virgins and five foolish. And I couldn’t get it. Why five of each? Why wouldn’t the five wise ones share with the five foolish? Sure, not their problem but shouldn’t we help each other out?
And why have I waited so long to write anything and this is what I feel compelled to share?
The reality is, I struggle. I feel inadequate and stupid. No way could God use someone like me. And this January, as I start again on a new year and new possibilities, this story is bugging me.
At least from what I can understand from the story, they are all virgins, all have a lamp and all initially have oil in their lamps. I’m pretty sure that would translate into them all being Christians (story applies to males and females). This is a story that has been used, since it was first used, to warn us to always be prepared for Jesus return. Traditionally the oil in the lamps was equated to the good things you’ve done, the character qualities that had been developed over your lifetime.
Bottom line, if you don’t have enough, you get rejected.
I don’t know about you, but as I start this new year, I know I don’t have enough. Not of one thing. Not love or holiness or faithfulness. Not goodness, prayerfulness, passion for God’s word. Nothing.
But the word of God looks at oil differently. When you see oil used in the Bible it signifies grace, favor, the Holy Spirit, God’s presence. The same thing that the number five signifies.
These are things that we can’t accumulate like awards, but things we bathe ourselves in, things that our poured out over us.
So in the end, it is a matter of accepting what a loving Father would lavish on me, not what I can do for myself.
Instead of trying to borrow the joy and relationship with God that others experience. I just rest in His grace, His favor, His presence.
I think I can live with that.