Down To Earth: Living Out The Parables Of Jesus

Day 7 of 7 • This day’s reading


Doing First What Matters Most

In Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25, the bridesmaids are given only one task: to make sure their lamps are ready for the celebration. The lamp represents your life and the oil represents the deeds and attitudes that fill your life. You can see that from Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:14-16).

In the parable, five of the bridesmaids are not ready. There is no oil in their lamps left to burn. They ask to borrow oil from the other five bridesmaids, but they are refused. The refusal seems so selfish. Why won’t they lend oil to the foolish bridesmaids? 

The point is this: Some things cannot be borrowed.

A relationship with God cannot be borrowed. Character cannot be borrowed. Deeds done out of love and obedience to Jesus cannot be borrowed. Faith cannot be borrowed. A life cannot be borrowed. Each of us alone is responsible before God for what we decide to do with our one and only life. Each of us is responsible for our relationship with God.

There is an even more sobering truth contained in this story: It is possible to wait too long.  Sometimes we think we have forever, so we delay doing what matters most.  We must do first what matters most.

There is a fascinating painting by the German painter Adolph Menzel. It is only partially finished. He intended to show the king, Frederick the Great, speaking with some of his generals. Menzel put in an outline of Frederick in charcoal and then painted the background and generals. He left the king until last but died prior to finishing the painting. Menzel failed to put into the picture the one person who mattered most! 

Menzel assumed he had forever to do what mattered most, but he didn’t. And neither do we. Jesus’ parable was told so that we would do first what matters most before it is too late. 

Prayer: Ask God to show you anywhere in your life that your priorities are mixed up.  Then pray, “Father, give me the wisdom to place You and Your ways first in my life. Save me from wasting my life by putting secondary things ahead of the most important things. Thank You for telling me this parable now before it is too late to change my life’s priorities to match Yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

We hope this Plan encouraged you.  Learn more about the Parables of Jesus from Tom Hughes: