Be Prepared

"Wherefore, be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom."
-D&C 33:17-

It's been 2 weeks since I last made a post on topics I have been studying! Where has the time gone?! I apologize for taking so long for the next post; life has been very busy.

I finished Jesus the Christ a few weeks ago and one of my favorite (and daunting) parables in the book was the parable of the ten virgins.

For those of you who are unsure which parable I'm referring to, it is located in Matthew 25: 1-13:

1 - Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

2 - And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

3 - They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them.

4 - But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

5 - While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

6 - And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

7 - Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

8 - And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

9 - But the wise answered, saying, not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10 - And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

11 - Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 - But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

13 - Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

In this parable, the bridegroom represents our Savior, Jesus Christ, while the virgins represent the followers of Christ. 

The parable speaks of Christ's second coming and how many of us (in this parable, half) will be unprepared for him. 

All 10 of the virgins grabbed their lamps and proceeded to wait for the bridegroom; but 5 of them did everything necessary to be prepared for when he arrived, by bringing oil for their lamps, while the other 5 did not.

In my mind, I picture 10 members of the church. We were all baptized and took upon us covenants, but what happens after we are baptized is of extreme importance. Are we complacent with just being baptized, thinking that by simply being baptized, we have done everything necessary for the inevitable Second Coming of our Savior? I look around me and see many that fit into this category. Heck, I was in that category not too long ago.

In order to be ready for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we have to also grab oil for our lamp. We have to continue on our Gospel path, beyond just being baptized. 

President Spencer W. Kimball said the following, in the book titled "Faith Precedes the Miracle"...

"Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching [ministering], control of bodily appetites, preaching the Gospel, studying the scriptures - each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thoughts and actions, marriage in the covenant for eternity - these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps."

As you can tell from his quote, there are so many things we have to do and continue to do, if we are going to be among the "5 virgins" who are ready, with oil for our lamps, when Christ returns.

I had the thought come to me of a fast and testimony meeting. While we don't know who, I'm sure some who get up to bear their testimony are only getting up with their lamp. The lamp is empty, there is no oil; the testimony as empty as the lamp. Our testimony grows as we do the things listed by President Kimball, among other things. If we aren't living worthily, aren't obeying the commandments or paying our tithing, etc. then our lamp is empty. 

Going beyond this, I've heard members discuss this parable, and, not understanding it, think the 5 that had oil were being selfish for not helping their fellow "virgins".

Don't think you can wait until the day of Christ's return and "borrow" oil from others. The oil of our lamps is not transferable. The oil could be renamed to the oil of conversion. As you live the Gospel and are converted to the Gospel; as you gain a testimony of the scriptures, obey the commandments, follow the Prophet, you collect more oil and your spiritual strength grows. You cannot lend someone else that strength or that testimony that you have worked so hard to build. says the following:

"As the wise virgins emphasized properly, each of us must "buy for ourselves." These inspired women were not describing a business transaction; rather, they were emphasizing our individual responsibility to keep our lamp of testimony burning and to obtain an ample supply of the oil of conversion. This precious oil is acquired one drop at a time - line upon line, precept upon precept, patiently and persistently. No shortcut is available; no last-minute flurry of preparation is possible."

Our supply of oil is built up over our entire lifetime. It is not possible to wait until the last moment to start obeying the commandments, to start studying the scriptures, diligently. To start attending church, being kind to others, or start paying tithing. We cannot wait until our deathbed or until Christ has returned to correct our thoughts and actions; this is something we have to do NOW and continue to do until 1) Christ returns or 2) our mortal life ends and we return to him. 

I want to make it very clear... I am not writing this trying to say that my lamp is full and everyone else needs to work on filling theirs. No; I'm writing this as a reminder to myself, as well as everyone else, to not delay filling your lamp. As we approach the sabbath, what better time to start the lifetime journey of filling it than attending church! We can use that one action to motivate us going into the next week, where we can strive to be kind, to serve others, to start studying the scriptures daily, to start obeying all the commandments.

It's not enough to have just a lamp. It's not enough to just know ABOUT Jesus Christ.

We have to continually come to KNOW Jesus Christ, to follow his example and to do the things we have been commanded to do.

So I challenge all of us to start coming to KNOW Jesus Christ, to start filling our lamp and to strive to be like the 5 wise virgins, to be prepared for the coming of the bridegroom.

"As individuals, we prepare to meet our God by keeping his commandments and living his laws... The gospel in its everlasting fulness, restored as it has been in these last days, is here to prepare a people for the second coming of the Son of Man."
-Bruce R. McConkie-


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