What do we need?

By Campus Missionary Mary Rowley, based on Matthew 25:1-13

I have a friend who is constantly worried about being prepared. Before she leaves a room, she insists on turning back and looking around to make sure she hasn’t left anything behind that she might need. She calls it “scanning.” Sometimes she does this more than once. It drives me nuts, but at the same time, I’m grateful when she grabs something at the last minute that we end up needing later on in the day.

It begs the question, “What do we need?” How do we ensure that we are prepared for what the day might bring? After all, as our text from Matthew 25 suggests, today might be The Day. What do we need to prepare for The Day? How do we get it? We don’t want to end up like the foolish virgins who weren’t prepared. We definitely want to have enough “oil for our lamps,” but what does that really mean?

While we’re in Matthew, we might as well skip forward a few chapters. Matthew 28 tells us that Jesus rose from the dead. That’s what we need – his successful sacrifice and resurrection for our sins. And chapter 28 also tells us that Jesus is with us always, to the very end of the age. That’s how we get it. Jesus gives us what we need, freely and without compromise. We don’t have to go out and look for what we need. It is given to us already.

But if we already have what we need, can we just coast along until the Last Day? No, as Jesus tells us definitively in this parable. It’s possible to run out of what you need. Not to say that Jesus’s forgiveness eventually isn’t enough, but that becoming complacent with that forgiveness can nullify it. We must be constantly on alert, always conscious of what Jesus has given us and what we should be doing with that gift. That way, when Jesus returns, we won’t find ourselves scrambling and asking, “What happened to that forgiveness I forgot about ten years ago?” We’ll be able to enter the wedding feast with joy because we have what we need.