By Ezekiel See
It was time to board the airplane. Hurriedly grabbing my bags, I scrambled to the back of the line. Christmas break was over; it was time to go back to school. As the line moved forward, I reached into my pocket for my boarding pass. It wasn’t there. I felt for it again. Nothing. My mom, who had accompanied me to the gate, started to stress. “You told me you knew where it was!”
I did know where it was. But that was past tense. Now, in the time I needed it most, it had seemingly vanished. I stepped out of line. Dumping my bags on a chair, I started tearing through them, trying to keep everything organized as I did so. “You said it was in a safe place! You need that ticket!” My mom was getting more and more worried by the second. Finally, opening up a zippered compartment, I pulled out the ticket.
“See, mom!” I said triumphantly, “I told you it was in a safe place!”
Relieved, she helped me close my bags. As we walked to the counter, I realized that life could have been so much simpler if I had pulled out my ticket before I needed to be in line. I could have saved myself a disorganized bag, and my mom a little stress if I had just been ready.
It seems to me that there is another story very similar to mine in the Bible. It is one Jesus told, found in Matthew chapter 25. There were ten virgins all on their merry way to a wedding feast. It must have been quite dark outside because all of them had lamps. They reached the place where they were to meet the bridegroom and his wedding procession. For some unknown reason, the procession was delayed in coming. As the hours passed, the lamps continued to burn. In a matter of cause and effect, the oil fueling the fires slowly diminished, until there was little left. I imagine that as they saw the fires ready to burn out, five of them calmly pulled out their extra oil, pouring it into the lamps. These five were ready. They had thought to bring extra oil, even though the chances of them needing it were slim. As they poured, the other five must have looked on with a bit of envy. They needed oil as well! In their most pathetic, pleading voice, they must have asked, “let us have just a little bit, just enough to keep our fire going.”
“No. Go to the store and get some yourself!” Maybe it wasn’t said in a harsh tone. Maybe it was said differently. But the message was the same. ‘I don’t have enough oil to keep your fire going.’
At first glance, it seems like a pretty harsh answer. But, if we are being honest, it wasn’t mean. It would have been like me going up to another person, maybe even someone I knew, and asking them for half of their boarding pass. That just wouldn’t work. They would send me back to a machine where I would have to get my own reprinted. It was the same situation for these five virgins. They had to go and get oil for themselves. When they came back, lamps burning brightly, the reception was already underway. They knocked and asked to be let into the reception hall, but the master wouldn’t let them in because they came too late.
This is like our trip to Heaven. We can’t rely on someone else for our boarding passes. When the time comes, and we don’t have it, we won’t be able to get it before the gate closes. Do you have your boarding pass? Will you be ready when your name is called?