“Give Us Some of Your Oil!”
We need to pay the price
to gain the oil ourselves.
In the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13, the Lord is warning His disciples concerning His return, and of the need to be ready for “the midnight cry” (v. 6) that must soon ring out for His saints:
“Behold, the Bridegroom!”
— Matthew 25:6
There is so much to say about this parable, but here we just want to focus on one point. That is, the foolish virgins had enough oil to light their lamps, but not enough to keep them burning. So, they tried to borrow some oil from the prudent virgins:
“And the foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’”
— Matthew 25:8
The prudent, however, refused, so the foolish had to go away and buy the oil for themselves (vv. 9-10).
Of course, the oil here signifies the Holy Spirit, as it does throughout the Scripture. So, the question is, why did these foolish virgins think they could borrow this oil—that is, borrow the Spirit—from others? The reason is very simple: because they spent their whole life doing just that!
The fact that these foolish virgins needed to “go and buy” the oil shows us that, if we desire to gain the filling of the Spirit (as distinct from the Spirit we received through our initial regeneration), we need to pay a price to get it; it is not “free.” For example, if we are “prudent” as believers, we can “buy the oil” by spending time in the word and in prayer with the Lord, taking up our cross daily to follow and serve Him, giving ourselves to shepherd His saints, preaching the gospel, and in other ways as well.
In contrast, if we are “foolish” believers, we will not do these things. Rather, we may join in the fellowship of the church and have some enjoyment of spiritual things as we sing the hymns and listen to messages, but that is only because other believers have paid the price to follow the Lord. This is to “borrow the oil,” and it may work in this day, so that we feel we are doing fine in our Christian life.
But, that will not be the case at the Lord’s return. At that time we will be exposed; even we ourselves will have to confess that “our lamps are going out,” when we find that we do not have enough of the “oil” for ourselves.
This does not mean we will lose our eternal salvation; we have that forever (John 5:24). But, we will lose the reward of reigning with Christ during the 1,000 years of His millennial kingdom. For, though we go to buy the oil at that time, it will be too late for us to enter into the wedding feast:
“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.”
— Matthew 25:10
And even though we cry out to the Lord, He will not open to us (vv. 11-12), and as we stand outside the feast we will finally realize just how foolish we were for failing to gain the oil when we still had time. What a terrible realization that will be! How much “weeping and gnashing of teeth” we will have then! (cf. Matt. 8:11-12).
This parable is a very sober warning from the Lord to His believers, to “watch therefore” (v. 13). We need give heed to it, rather than ignore it or try to explain it away, as so many believers do. May we instead learn its lesson and be those who pay the price to gain the oil today! May we pray:
“Lord, make me so prudent in my seeking after You! Grant me to pay the price to gain the oil today, so that, in the day when You come, I may go in with You to the wedding feast!”