A Fool on Earth but Wise for Eternity
by Shery Abdelmalek
Text: Matthew 25:1-13
The message to this parable is clear – Watch for you do not know the day and hour in which the Son of Man is coming. Simple enough, yet where we tend to get caught up is the part where the foolish went to the wise, and were turned down. The wise literally had salvation in the palm of their hands yet chose not to give it to the foolish. What kind of Christians are these “wise virgins?” Jesus taught us to lay down our lives for our friends yet they ask you for oil and you say, “No?”
The modern day dilemma that stems from this same line of thinking is, how can a loving God allow His children to be condemned to hell? The answer to this one is easy – because He is a loving God. He gave us free will so that we would not blindly follow His every command. He is no dictator. He is the author of love. If you are moved to compassion for those that go to hell, how much more do you think it pains God to see His children choose death over life? Think of the most excruciating pain you could imagine – this is worse.
If excruciating comes from the word crucifixion, we can take that as an example of the height of human pain. Nails through the hands and feet, suffocation as the body struggles to lift itself up to breathe, organ failure, elbows that dislocate under the pressure of holding up the entire body. This is just the start. Jesus spoke while on the Cross – while the two thieves on either side of Him were struggling to life their bodies up to breathe. Jesus prayed for the salvation of those that mocked and condemned Him to death. The pain of crucifixion was not what phased our God though. He fell under the weight of the Cross. Not because it was physically heavy, but because on it laid the weight of the world’s sin. Yours and mine alike. He carried it all – when He prayed in Gethsemane while sweating blood, so that we could spend eternity with our Creator. You don’t think He is not phased by a child lost to sin? He feels that same pain at the loss of every child. How dare we question that He is a loving God.
If you truly believe that their fate is not fair, pray for them. Don’t turn the question of “How can a loving God allow His children to go to Hell?” into some kind of trivial pursuit. Pray so hard that it pains you at their loss. Even at the height of your prayers, you will not feel the pain He feels, but you will learn to love that little bit deeper. Your love that is limited will imitate His limitless love just that little bit more. This life cannot be separated from the hereafter. You keep living the life you lived on earth. Those that choose the path of sanctification with the heavenly over the earthly, naturally move on to heaven. Heaven is home. For those that choose to satisfy the wants of their earthly beings above all else, how could God then stop them and say, “No, come home with Me instead,” when they have lived a life of continual rejection of Him? Look back on your own life, and all the obstacles and challenges you have faced, that have led to the strengthening of your faith, do you not think that God did not try to reach out to them just as He reaches out to you? Of course He does.
So back to our parable – the wise virgins that refused to share their oil. They could not share it because it was not their own. The oil was good works, and salvation was the reward of their works. This could not be given away. This is the oil of love and compassion that comes from living a life at Christ’s feet. You can’t give away your salvation to someone else.
In those wise virgins, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are might.” (1 Cor. 1:27 NKJV). From a worldly perspective, the foolish virgins were the wise and the wise virgins were foolish. The wise virgins spent their lives collecting oil while the foolish virgins did what pleased them, knowing that when the time of the Bridegroom came, then they would collect oil. In the same way we live a life full of compromises and lukewarm faith, because our time has not yet come. Do not use your human logic against the wisdom of God, “for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 25:13 NKJV)
The wise and foolish alike had one thing in common, they were all virgins. The virginity of the foolish was yet not accredited to them. This suggests that their virginity was for worldly profit – for the praise of men and not of God. Their very enquiry to the wise, that their good works which they gathered, could simply be handed to another, is suggestive of their superficial and dim views of salvation. In school, you can ask someone for the answers to a test, but you cannot ask them for the knowledge you have gained in finding those answers for yourself. This was the attempt of the foolish virgins. They had tricked the nations into believing their faithfulness their whole lives, to the extent that they thought they could trick the Bridegroom also. God looks at the inward not the outward, He weighs the intention over the action.