Are You a Well-oiled Servant?

By Jonna Turek

"Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins," by Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow, 1789-1862. Used by permission,

“Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins,” by Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow, 1789-1862. Used by permission,

Scripture: Matthew 25 (NIV)

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

25 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.”

Women in Christian ministry are like the women in this parable, in that we yearn in our hearts to serve the bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

We can liken the lamps in the story to our various gifts of talents, time, and abilities. In this symbolism, the oil is the stores of time, energy, and creativity we maintain by wise use and care of those gifts. If we wish to be capable of responding when the bridegroom calls us to service, we must keep an ample supply on hand.

We care for our physical selves by maintaining good health habits – no one puts good oil into a leaky jar! So, wise women include regular exercise, a balanced diet, sensible sleep habits, and ample doses of fresh air and sunshine in their routines.

Our spirits must be refreshed frequently in order to have good quality oil in our jars. That means sitting as students in Bible study and as participants in worship (not just always leading them!), fellowship, and retreats. What is poured out in leadership must be replenished.

This applies equally to individuals and to ministry groups. Take care not to over-schedule your women, allowing a balance between leading them in service and in providing nurturing opportunities for them.

We must take care of our precious jars of oil so we will always be ready to serve when Christ calls.

Jonna TurekJonna Turek is active in her congregation and in women’s ministries. Jonna writes the blog “Power Walking with Jonna,” and under the pen-name J.B. Hawker, Jonna has published several mystery novels.

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