I haven’t thought too much about the old oil lamp that used to sit on top of the dresser in my Grandpa and Grandma’s bedroom. The clear glass lamp was always filled with red oil–ready to be lit along with just enough wick to light a flame.
Me and my brothers, we would sometimes get in trouble if we messed with the lamp. Our Grandma was afraid we may break it and get cut. And our Grandpa, he yelled at us because we would sneak and roll the wick up too high.
Since our Grandparents died, the lamp has been resting in my kitchen for years, the base filled with potpourri. I washed the lamp a few weeks ago–the roller rusted with age. And I removed the potpourri and placed it back on the shelf.
And the emptiness of the lamp was just what it was—empty.
Many years ago I was serving in my church as the Sunday School teacher for the four and five year old class. And it was my Sunday to teach. Lesson number 16–The Parable of the Ten Virgins. I was a little hesitant–no, I was A LOT hesitant about teaching this lesson. I wanted to call the other teacher and tell her we were skipping lesson number 16 and move on to the next one. I wondered how the children would react when the wise virgins wouldn’t share their oil with the foolish ones among other questions But not once did they question God’s story.
Never once have I had one child ask me how God makes rainbows…how all of the animals fit on the ark…how Jonah survived in the belly of the fish…or how a rock could kill a giant. Children are like that–they believe with a much larger faith.
It’s been a while since I read the scriptures written in lesson number 16. And maybe it’s because the hollow of the lamp and the lack of oil and the lack of the wick that I have been thinking hard about the ten wise and the ten foolish.
And really, thinking back…why would the children even ask about the sharing… the parable has nothing to do with the sharing of the oil. It’s the diligent faith. The watching. The waiting. The preparing for the coming of the Lamp. And five were ready and five were not.
For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness.
2 Samuel 22:29
And with a kindness only found in the local hardware store where wood floors sing old songs–he said, ‘may I help you find something?’
‘Yes, please. I need a new wick and oil for my lamp.’
And the flame in the old lamp still burns bright and warm after all these years, and the bitter wind whispers in the dark, winter’s coming. And the glory of the Lamp–it will never dull or grow dim for the path will always be lit by His flame.
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. Matthew 25:13