When Enough Isn’t Enough

Is it possible to have too much God? What about reading too much of the Bible? Maybe there is such a thing as going to church too much? Surely, there is a point where there is too much prayer? Okay, maybe not, but maybe you’ve felt that you’ve had enough of some of these things. Join us today as we explore when enough isn’t enough.

1 Read Matthew 25:1-2; Proverbs 9:10; Philippians 2:5

Matthew records three parables that Jesus used to give a jarring teaching on discipleship and judgment. The first is about 10 young women. Initially, the primary description we are given is that five are wise and five are foolish. What does it really mean to be wise? What does it mean to be foolish? Take some time to journal what your answers are and share a picture on social media using  #MessageMag.

2 Read Matthew 25:3; 2 Timothy 4:2; 1 Peter 3:15

The Bible gives directions to be ready for an array of situations. For some reason there are five young women in this parable who have lamps but apparently didn’t have any excess oil. They are characterized as foolish for being unprepared. I know there have been many times in my life when I’ve been unprepared, but I wouldn’t call myself foolish because of it. What is so foolish about what the young ladies have done in the parable? Share your opinions with us on social media using #MessageMag.

3 Read Matthew 25:4; Luke 14:28; Proverbs 13:10

The five wise young women are prepared with oil in their lamps and extra oil in jars. There seems to be some connection to wisdom and preparation. They were ready for both the moment and the unexpected. No one knows what the future holds but what are some things that you have done personally to prepare for the future? We’d love to hear how you have made plans for the days that are ahead. Share them on social media using #MessageMag.

4 Read Matthew 25:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 14:6

God takes His time because He is beyond time. That doesn’t make it any easier on you and me. The ten young women in the story wait so long that they all fall asleep. What are we supposed to do when God is taking longer than we expected? What do you do? We’d love some advice! Share with us how to master waiting on the Lord, on social media using #MessageMag.

5 Read Matthew 25:6-8; Revelation 14:6-7

God, I mean the bridegroom, finally arrives and everyone wakes up. The ones who were prepared light their lamps and ready themselves. Those who were unprepared light their lamps also, but realize they are low on oil and their lights will soon go out. This is interesting because it shows that both the wise and the foolish were waiting, with oil, and the ability to carry light. Up until this point there is very little that actually separates the wise and foolish. Maybe in life, church, and religion, there is very little that separates the wise and foolish. What could the determining factor be? Share your opinions using #MessageMag on social media. 

6 Read Matthew 25:9-11; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 5:3; Revelation 14:12

The five wise young women seem to be selfish in not sharing their oil. They point out that there may not be enough. Enough? How do they know what enough is? They’ve been waiting just the same as the other young women, and the announcement that the bridegroom has arrived has gone out. There is something significant about the fact that the wise are not willing to believe that they know exactly how much oil will be needed when the bridegroom arrives. Do you think you have enough of whatever is necessary for the return of the Lord? Tell us what you think it is and why or why not, using #MessageMag on social media.

7 Read Matthew 25:12-13

Oil represents the presence of God throughout the Bible. Matthew 25 is no different. Those who went in with the bridegroom were those who didn’t settle for a set amount of the presence of God. The interesting thing about getting closer to God is that you often can feel like you have so much more to learn, do, and share. The wise thing to do, according to the parable at the beginning of Matthew 25, is never stop seeking the presence of God and continual communion with Him. Those who have “made it” or “arrived” may soon find out that enough isn’t enough.

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Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.


This article is part of our 2021 May / June Issue
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“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.”

“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’  But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’”

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming

 

Midnight Oil

A Reflection

Oil Poor

From Ellen G. White’s Christ’s Object Lessons, “The Bridegroom Cometh”
p. 406-411.

In

the parable, all the ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ’s second coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ’s near approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him,” many are unready. They have no oil in their vessels with their lamps. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit.

Without the Spirit of God a knowledge of His word is of no avail. The theory of truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart. One may be familiar with the commands and promises of the Bible; but unless the Spirit of God sets the truth home, the character will not be transformed. Without the enlightenment of the Spirit, men will not be able to distinguish truth from error, and they will fall under the masterful temptations of Satan.

The class represented by the foolish virgins are not hypocrites. They have a regard for the truth, they have advocated the truth, they are attracted to those who believe the truth; but they have not yielded themselves to the Holy Spirit’s working. They have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and permitted their old nature to be broken up. This class are represented also by the stony-ground hearers. They receive the word with readiness, but they fail of assimilating its principles. Its influence is not abiding. The Spirit works upon man’s heart, according to his desire and consent implanting in him a new nature; but the class represented by the foolish virgins have been content with a superficial work. They do not know God. They have not studied His character; they have not held communion with Him; therefore they do not know how to trust, how to look and live. Their service to God degenerates into a form.

“They come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness” (Ezekiel 33:31, KJV).

The apostle Paul points out that this will be the special characteristic of those who live just before Christ’s second coming. He says, “In the last days perilous times shall come: for men shall be lovers of their own selves; … lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, KJV).

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This article is part of our 2021 May / June Issue
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ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.

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