I rummaged through my black leather handbag, desperate in my search. How did I get myself in this predicament? Would I find anything that could suffice?
Typically I carried a small packet of Kleenex wherever I went, however my children used them all on our last icecream outing. Perhaps I’d luck upon a tissue scrunched up in the bottom of a zip pocket in my jacket.
I scrutinised the dispenser one last time, hoping, praying I was mistaken. I strained my neck inside to get a better look and practically shook the thing off the wall. To no avail. I had run out. And there was no reserve.
With pants around my ankles, there was only one option.
“Hello. Is anyone there? Can you manage to spare a square?”
Have you experienced the frustration and slight embarrassment of running out of something? Milk? Fuel? Patience? Energy? The will to go on?
In Matthew 24 Jesus told a story of ten bridesmaids ready for a wedding. Like any bridesmaid, they were excited, dressed to the nines and ready to party with the happy couple. The problem was they waited a long time. Their lipstick wore off. They had a headache from all the bobby pins. The oil in their lamp was low.
Five bridesmaids were prepared for this. They had extra oil. Spare lipstick. A spritz of perfume. A pick me up.
Five did not.
They didn’t have anything in reserve. So when they went to buy more lipstick, have a hair re-do, get more oil for their lamp, the bridegroom arrived.
And they missed it. They missed the wedding. They was no oil in their lamp.
We can all relate to the bridesmaids. We have started something in life – a new relationship, career change, fresh vision, life dream and the passion, enthusiasm and work ethic are high. However days turn into weeks, months turn into years and things aren’t like they used to be. Challenges and set backs erode zeal and fulfilment away.
But in the parable, the difference between wisdom and foolishness was in the reserve. Wise bridesmaids were prepared for the long haul – prepared for the wait, setbacks and discouragement. The foolish ones were not.
Hear this: the bridegroom is coming. Your miracle. Your promotion. Your wedding. Your breakthrough.
Will you have oil in your lamp? Too often we miss the blessing coming our way because we give up. We aren’t equipped for a drawn out process, but that’s what it takes.
I’d hate for that to be you. I’d hate for you to miss the new opportunity coming your way because you ran out of fervour, patience, strength, purpose, or whatever is vital to your success.
So I want you to take a good hard look at yourself and honestly determine which bridesmaid are you? Have you got stuff in reserve? If not, can you get your enthusiasm (or whatever you need) back so when your big chance arrives, you are ready?
Take time to oil your lamp. The season is about to change. Singleness is over and a wedding is upon us. Be ready. The oil for the last season is not sufficient for the next. Oil your lamp. Reignite first love; reinvigorate your spirit; regain your drive. Prepare yourself. Prepare your heart for increase, for growth, for a celebration.
You’ve waited too long, you’ve worked too hard, you’ve sacrificed too much to give up now. The bridegroom’s arrival is imminent. Your breakthrough, your miracle is at hand. Don’t get caught out – make sure the is plenty of oil in your lamp.