Tonight the Lord called Prophetess Yolanda Davis-Greggs to lead “Midnight Prayer.” When she spoke on why she was called to this, the wise and foolish virgins came up. In speaking of that, I realized that the reason why midnight prayer and the virgins were so inter-connected on that prayer call. The first reason is because these are the “last days,” and that, thereby, makes it the “midnight hour.” It means that the coming of Jesus is nearer than when we first believed, and near enough to which we need to take our times and our awareness of His coming seriously. The second part of that plays in with the first: if it is the midnight hour, then the wise virgins are called to be ready at any time, as the Groom will come. Yet the Word cautions us greatly against the foolish – and for good reason, as He has revealed on tonight. As I read the passage after we got off the prayer line, I realized something very key: there is only one way to be wise, but many ways to be foolish. The way we tell the difference is by discernment.
Matthew 25:1-2 (AMP): THEN THE kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish (thoughtless, without forethought) and five were wise (sensible, intelligent, and prudent).
I’ve heard so many spins on what this passage is about, it isn’t funny. The Word is clear that it is the Kingdom of God; in other words, it is about us. In the Kingdom of God, there are, therefore, both foolish people and wise people. In fact, the Word here points out that the numbers are about half and half: half of us are wise, and half of us are foolish. How many of you have heard me lament about how many people just act like idiots? Well, I’m not that far off the mark. If 50% of the church is foolish, that means the dingbat ratio is enough to make someone nuts.
This does beg the question, however: why are there foolish people in the Kingdom? If the Bible exalts wisdom, why would God tolerate foolishness? My best answer to this question is that there are three possibilities, and I’m still not sure there is not more to possibly glean from it. The first answer is to say that salvation isn’t based on our personal level of wisdom. There are many, many wise people throughout history who over-relied on wisdom and became vain in that knowledge. The second reason is because we live in a foolish age, where even the church is foolish. With ministers who don’t teach right and people who don’t discern right, it’s not a big secret that wisdom isn’t a prime value in today’s church. Believers think if they get a new car, God must be happy with them, failing to consider the fact that anyone can go and get a car loan and have a car. They don’t know wisdom because it isn’t a value; that which is wise is deemed complicated or unnecessary in favor of often what could be deemed as that which is ridiculous. It’s also worth noting (as something I tapped on in my last blog) that not everything in the Word or even in the Christian life is about salvation. One of the biggest mistakes we make in today’s church is turning everything into a heaven/hell debate. The Apostle Paul points out that while all things may be permitted, not all things are beneficial. The Apostle was point out with his very words that not everything is a salvation issue – some things are just about the exercise of wisdom. Smoking, for example, is not a wise decision. There are numerous reasons why smoking is a bad idea for one’s health. There is nothing in the Bible, however, that says smoking is a sin. Smoking a cigarette will not keep you out of heaven. I know the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, I know we are supposed to honor the vessel, but that is what makes smoking unwise – not a sin. Gluttony, however, is mentioned as a sin because it is about more than just the physical being, and that means everyone pointing fingers at smokers better start looking at the insatiable desires they have. But, I digress. Back to the topic at hand.)
There is also the possibility that those who are in the Kingdom and are simply unwise are “tares” waiting to be revealed in this midnight hour. Because that seems to be a common theme in last days teaching, I am inclined to believe this is heavily at play in this passage. Those who are foolish grow alongside those who are wise, and, for a time, look exactly the same as those who are wise. You can’t tell the difference between the two on the surface. They may go to the same church, listen to the same Christian music station, even wave their praise banners at the same time. They may both use the same ministerial “title,” maybe even preach. Yet the Word here goes on to tell us how we can identify the wise from the foolish, and it is very, very simple.
Matthew 25:3-9 (AMP): For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take any [extra] oil with them; But the wise took flasks of oil along with them [also] with their lamps. While the bridegroom lingered and was slow in coming, they all began nodding their heads, and they fell asleep. But at midnight there was a shout, Behold, the bridegroom! Go out to meet him! Then all those virgins got up and put their own lamps in order. And the foolish said to the wise, Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out. But the wise replied, There will not be enough for us and for you; go instead to the dealers and buy for yourselves.
So the foolish didn’t prepare for the bridegroom’s late arrival. In other words, they just relied on the fact that he would come when THEY were ready. They believed he would do what THEY expected. They had the bridegroom operating like THEY thought he should, and they made no preparations to the contrary. These are the people who today believe God works like THEY think He should. They see God as a big version of themselves: they can do no wrong, they are so “anointed,” they are always dealing with the devil because it can’t be that God is trying to reveal something to them, and most of all…they have a modus operandi. What exactly is that “modus operandi,’ you ask?
The wise come prepared because they know God’s ways are not their ways. This means that, in many ways, they are off the “beaten track.” That is because they are making a new track for people to follow. They go through and face warfare in their lives, but the warfare is not haphazard: it is designed to hamper the work. In an effort to keep the lamp burning, the anointing is guarded and extra precaution is taken to ensure the light will still be burning when Jesus returns. They persist not to fall asleep, because the journey is tiring. And what do the foolish want to do? They think that because THEY came unprepared, THEY fell asleep that they now need “help” and then they get manipulative. “Well if you were REALLY a Christian, you’d give me some of your oil!” “If you have so much extra oil, you should share it with me!” “The Word says we should love each other, you need to show me how much you love me!” “If you are my sister/brother, you will give me some of what you got!” “You should help out my ministry with what you have – it shouldn’t be about the credit!” “If the Holy Spirit is calling you to my event, you should use your own resources to get here and help me with my call!”
People, people, people, the foolish are manipulative – which proves that smart they may not be, but crafty, they are! The foolish have learned enough of the ways of the Kingdom to try and use the wise to develop the call they claim God gave them. They know people aren’t taught properly about matters of love and helping each other, and that ministers can easily feel guilty with the right words and presentation. The Word, however, makes it very clear what marks wisdom and what marks foolishness. The wise see through this behavior. They see through manipulative conduct and call it out for what it is. They tell them right where it’s at: NO. NO, I am not going to let you suck my anointing dry because you don’t have anything of your own. NO, I am not going to give you my oil because there isn’t enough in me for me AND for you, too. What you need to do is go get your own.
In this day and age of ministry, there will be times when we will have to guard our anointing for dear life and not be real nice with some people. These people who try to steal our anointing, our oil, need to be told off. They need to hear the word “NO.” Yes, they will turn it and make you out to be selfish. You aren’t selfish. Later in Matthew 25, Jesus does an excellent job of telling us exactly who needs our help, and it is not people who make the choice to be unprepared, lazy, pampered, self-centered, or people who want to be called but aren’t, so they’ll just steal what God gave to someone else. They keep trying to show up for the wedding in inappropriate clothing, just because they want to come – and God doesn’t stand for it! Nobody is entitled to anything they don’t pursue in God. To act any other way is to act foolishly, because letting the foolish take the anointing is to squander the gift of God on your life. So some of us need to check ourselves and stop acting foolishly. They may be coming along to you and saying everything and you just hand them a straw to guzzle your oil down to the point where you’ve got nothing left – not for God, not for anybody. Handing everyone everything they ask for is not good for them because people need to learn how to be responsible on their own. Responsibility, just as we see it in the natural, is a spiritual principle: we are spiritually responsible for ourselves and that is not learnt in the Kingdom if we hand everyone everything all the time. You are foolish to let your light go out because an anointing usurper comes along, wants what you have, and you hand it over to them. TELL THEM NO, GO GET THEIR OWN. That is what’s best for them AND for you. That is wise behavior!
Matthew 25:10-13 (AMP): But while they were going away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were prepared went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came and said, Lord, Lord, open [the door] to us! But He replied, I solemnly declare to you, I do not know you [I am not acquainted with you]. Watch therefore [give strict attention and be cautious and active], for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will come.
Those who are foolish will miss the call of the bridegroom. They will miss the very presence of Jesus, the very wedding of the Bridegroom and the Bride spoken of in Revelation, because they will have wasted too much time trying to get something for nothing. Wisdom tells us to be prepared and to guard our preparations. In ministry, our preparations are our ministry. If we are truly chosen, our actions will align with wisdom. If we have allowed too many people to take advantage of what God has placed in our lives, now is the time to close the borders and guard what God has given. If we are foolish, it’s time to check the reason for that and start being responsible. Leaders, it’s time to impress responsibility on others, so they will take spiritual things seriously. Verse 13 reminds us of the importance of being alert, prepared, watchful, and waiting, because we don’t know when Jesus is coming back. He could arrive ten minutes after I write this, or not for another ten thousand years. The point is that it doesn’t matter. When it comes to spiritual things, we need to want and seek more than just avoiding hell after we die: we need to seek wisdom that reflects the Lord’s precepts within our lives. If you are, that’s great. If you’re not, it’s time to turn that tide…because you know not at what time the Son of Man shall return.
(c) 2012 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.