“How you use your time matters” is the second in the series, “Who You Choose to BE Matters.”
The first study was around “what you say and do matters.” Yes, who you choose to become is what guides your entire life: words, thoughts, and actions.
In this post, I’m going to share with you on why “how you use your time matters.” I will use Matthew 25: 1-13 to help us with that.
Click below to listen to the full audio recording
Understanding the story and the context in Matthew 25: 1-13
The story in our text is about a wedding within the Jewish tradition. Keep in mind that it is the way it was done during Jesus’ times.
The Jews still practice much of that tradition, except just a few things. That’s something to talk about in another sermon.
The tradition was that the wedding would take place at night. It happened in most cases in Autumn (fall). Before the wedding happening, the bride and groom would have been a part for like one year.
They called this time: betrothal. It is during this time that the two families address questions related to the dowries. They also take care of legal agreements that need to be signed.
On the wedding night, there are processions to be done. The groom has his groomsmen accompany him to his father’s house. At a given time, the groom, sometimes having a crown on his head, would process with his party to the bride’s parents’ house.
Because, a Jewish wedding, in Jesus’ days, was a community event, there was always someone to keep a watch outside. This person is the one who would signal the bride and her bridesmaids of the groom’s procession.
In our story, just like it was familiar, the bride had about ten of her best friends as bridesmaids.
They made up her party for the wedding. However, in our text today, there are two groups of bridesmaids: foolish and wise.
It’s not just about choices that Jesus, in the story, groups them into two categories: foolish and wise. Jesus does so because of “who they are.” Imagine you are preparing for your wedding.
According to your plan, you have ten bridesmaids and ten groomsmen. You have rehearsed on Friday, in most cases, and everyone is there. But, on Saturday, on your wedding day, surprisingly, only half of your bridesmaids show up.
What are you going to feel?
That will be disappointing. Will it not?
“Who you choose to be” matters!
The reason why it matters is that “who you are” makes you either foolish or wise. In the story, Jesus offers “who you should not be” and “who you should be.”
Let’s take a look at that and see what we can learn from the story. Before doing so, however, I would like to share three spiritual principles that apply to all human beings.
They are truths for all of us, whether we are Christians or not.
- First, we have no control over time. Read verse 13, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (ESV).
- Second, we all become drowsy and sleepy. Read verse 5, “As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept” (ESV).
- Third, loss of time may mean loss of opportunities (open doors can close). Read verse 10, “And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut” (ESV).
Based on Matthew 25, there are two kinds of people Jesus is talking about in the text. One is who He does not want you to be (foolish). The other is who He wants you to be (wise).
Don’t be foolish
There are three things we can learn from the story, and which tell us why Jesus refers to this group of virgins as foolish.
Foolishness means a lack of wisdom
The foolish virgins, based on the story, had the information about everything. However, they chose not to use it.
Wisdom is the application of what you learn (information).
Change of who you are comes out of how you use the information/learning you gain. The time comes into play here. A better use of your time means you dedicate opportunity to learn and time to practice what you learn.
They also did not take time to prepare for the wedding. They might have had oil for their lamps.
But, they did not provide some extra oil in case there was a delay, which is what happened that night. See verse 5, “As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept” (ESV).
Foolishness means emptiness
These bridesmaids had lamps, but they did not make enough to keep their lamps full in case the bridegroom would delay.
Keep in mind that they needed oil. Having lamps isn’t enough.
I refer to lamps as who we are, as human beings: soul, spirit and mind. Not having oil means that we are empty. We all have lamps. But the question is: “Are our lamps full of oil?”
Another question could be: “Do we have enough oil with us?” Scripture says that God created humans in God’s image. In other words, we have God’s shape. But, the question is: “Are filled with God?”
Oil, throughout the Bible, represents God’s anointing. People were anointed to be kings, prophets or become key leaders in the community.
With Jesus coming to us, and leaving us with the Holy Spirit, oil represents God’s presence in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Not having oil means that God is not dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit.
Foolishness means being godless
Not having God dwell in us through the power of the Holy Spirit can make us people of good morals. However, it does not make us God-centered.
We are therefore lacking on two levels: gifting and fruit of the Holy Spirit.
- No power to do God’s work.
- No clarity on our identity in Christ.
- No fruit of the Spirit.
Watch this video for a summary of the article
God does not want us to be foolish. But, God wants us all to be wise. Here’s what that means.
The wise bridesmaids have enough oil for the entire time.
- They plan. They know that planning gives structure and help prepare for the unknown.
- They know they have no control over when the groom will show up. For that reason, they choose to plan and prepare for the future.
- They are emotionally aware.
- They are emotionally responsive.
Be mindful of other people’s interests
Being prudent combined with being sensible comes out of being mindful of other people’s interests.
- The wise bridesmaids are prudent and sensible.
- They even care for the foolish ones. They suggest to them what to do in order to be ready for the groom. But, they did not want to enable them by giving them oil. That would not be helpful the foolish bridesmaids.
- Their primary goal is to be with the bride and groom.
- Even though they felt drowsy and slept, they were ready to meet the bridegroom anytime he would show up.
Using your time should consist of being prudent, sensible and mindful of other people’s interests. If you do not plan ahead and are not ready for the unknown, that will affect you and the people in your life. Not only open doors close in your life, but other people are affected due to the way you use your time.