In Matthew 25, the Savior gives the parable of the ten virgins, likening the kingdom of heaven to the five wise and five foolish virgins hoping to meet the bridegroom. Half brought extra oil for their lamps and half did not. The night went on and they all fell asleep. When the bridegroom finally arrived, the foolish virgins didn’t have enough oil to keep their lamps burning. Frantically, they went to get extra oil but it was too late. They were shut out from the wedding.
From this parable, we learn the importance and indeed necessity of spiritual preparation in order to gain entrance to and fully enjoy the kingdom of heaven. We all want to be like the five wise virgins who brought sufficient oil to keep their lamps burning. However, it is likely many of us relate more to the five foolish virgins. Here are four ways we relate to them and what this comparison can mean to our spiritual growth.
One. We Want to Meet the Bridegroom.
It is important to note the five foolish virgins wanted to attend the wedding. They wanted to meet the bridegroom. Similarly, the large majority of us want to be righteous! Our hearts and desires are in the right place. While we definitely need to turn this into action, having even a desire to believe is a great place to start.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, when speaking of desire, said, “If our righteous desires are sufficiently intense, they will motivate us to cut and carve ourselves free from addictions and other sinful pressures and priorities that prevent our eternal progress.”
Let your desire work in you as a motivator to gain a testimony and spiritually fill your lamps.
Two. We’ve Tried to Prepare….
The five foolish virgins were prepared. They took what oil they thought they would need and waited excitedly for the bridegroom to come. They had the basic necessities.
Many of us today go through the motions and fulfill the basic necessities of righteousness. We go to church and attend our meetings. We do our best to live the commandments. We fulfill our callings. We pray. We read our scriptures.
Three. …Without Realizing What Is Truly Needed.
However, in today’s wicked world, the basics are no longer enough to remain sure and strong. The five foolish virgins had enough oil for the start of the night. Perhaps they did not anticipate the length of their wait.
We likewise may not anticipate the struggles that will come, the turbulent waters we may have to cross through, or the difficult question that may arise. We need to be spiritually prepared for anything that comes our way. The roots of our testimony need to be deeper than we ever thought they should be.
Four. They Didn’t Give Up.
In the parable, the five foolish virgins went to get oil. They didn’t give up. While their story ended sadly, ours does not have to. Unlike the five foolish virgins, we are never too late or too far gone to begin building a lasting testimony of Jesus Christ. Let us not give up. If we find our oil is low, let us do whatever it takes to get some! Let us learn of Christ, become truly engaged in the work of his restored gospel, and shine that light forever.