Today’s reading is Matthew 25:1-26:75.
I didn’t get far in today’s reading before I was hit by Matthew 25:8-9.
“And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’”
What an amazing passage.
Some consider the wise virgins as heartless and mean. “Look at how they are hoarding what they have instead of sharing.” But the wise were right. Remember, Jesus called them wise, not wicked. The wise virgins understood the need for boundaries. I have no doubt they were very concerned for the foolish virgins. But they understood that the improper planning of the fools did not place a burden on them.
Let’s back up and get something straight. We are all to be servants. The Bible is full of stories and instruction showing us we need to be servants, we need to share, we need to help. Sadly, however, too many Christians have carried this way beyond the point the Scripture makes and have become codependent doormats. That is, they become enablers who pave the way for others to simply live in folly and often sin.
Paul said, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” (II Thessalonians 3:10). We look at someone hungry and say, “Oh, but their hungry.” We feed them and simply enable their laziness. Yes, we should serve, but we shouldn’t enable.
That is the lesson of the five wise virgins. They refused to enable the five foolish virgins. They had boundaries. They did help. They were there with the five foolish virgins. They gave them good advice. For all that, they refused to cross the boundary line.
Perhaps the hardest part about this on the side of the five wise virgins is thinking, “But what will they think of me? What if they don’t like me anymore? What will they say about me? This could ruin our relationship.” The wise virgins didn’t think on those lines. They simply thought about what was the right thing to do. They didn’t allow their insecurities of what others might think to dictate their actions. Had they done so, the five foolish virgins would have liked them. However, the wise virgins would no longer have been wise, but would have been fools as were their counterparts.
Somebody once gave me a little saying that has really helped me in the moments I want to be codependent and cross boundaries, acting based on how people think about me rather than what is right. He said, “You know, it’s really none of my business what everyone else thinks about me.” We simply can’t control what everyone else will think. When we know we’ve done the right thing, we don’t need to worry what everyone else thinks because what they think doesn’t make what we did wrong. In like manner if we have done what is wrong, what everyone else thinks won’t make what we did right. Instead of codependently worrying about what everyone else thinks of us and whether or not they are judging us, disapproving us, or looking down on us, let’s simply work to do the next right thing. What everyone else thinks of us doesn’t change whether or not we are right with God or whether or not we are wise.
Let’s be like the five wise virgins. Let’s establish boundaries. Let’s offer good help but not behave codependently.
Keep the faith and keep reading,
P.S. What did you get out of today’s reading?