There was a time when Saudi Arabia was a barren sea of sand and dust storms. There was a time when Arabia was “somewhere, far away,” only to be visited in our imaginations as we heard of Ali Baba and the forty thieves. Islam was a strange and exotic religion that had little to do us. Then we became addicted to oil. This black blood became the blood pumping through the veins of the industrial revolution. Like children being hooked on sugar we could not stay away from the candy store. Today the west is defined by its abundance of things. Today we want our SUV’s and our VCR’s and our air-conditioned comfort, and we can’t have them without first buying Saudi oil. Our dependence on Arab oil has given the East great leverage and power over the West. Some see the solution to our present problems in reducing our dependency to foreign oil, not realizing that it is not our lust for oil, but our lust itself that is the problem. Jesus said, “life does not consist in the abundance of things.” If that is true, America is not very much these days, if you take away her things.
Jesus told the story of the ten virgins. All ten had lamps, but only five had oil. It is the story about virgin oil. All ten had great hopes for the future. All ten believed that, their savior, their love, their happiness would come at any moment. They all dreamed of a kingdom, and they awaited Prince Charming. But because five were foolish, they were not ready should he come in the dark. This, of course, is a warning by Christ to the church to watch and be ready for his coming again. That is the obvious teaching. There is a less obvious, but equally significant warning in this parable for our generation.
We are too dependent on this world’s energy.
We need and demand more and more power.
We are addicted to physical oil to the point that we are
spiritually empty and unprepared for dark days that lie ahead.
Five had an energy source inside the lamps to enlighten, to fuel,
to empower them. The other
five, although they looked much the same, were empty. What the wise had
was not for sale. The
foolish virgins would have to get oil from the same place the wise ones
did. In the story, they
waited too long. We do not
have to wait another minute. John
warned us. He said, “Love not the world, neither the things of the
world…” (1Jn 2:15). If I am filled with the things of the world, I
cannot be filled with the things of God.
If I fill my heart with the world, I will have to keep going back
to the world for more of their “crude” oil.
If I am wise, I will desire only the virgin oil of God himself
and the fullness of his Spirit. “Filled
with the fullness of God,” (Eph. 3:19) I will not have to buy what the
would is selling, and I will not have to pay the awful high price they