There might be a simple explanation for why the 5 wise virgins wouldn’t share the oil. Let me explain what I mean.
When Jesus talked to the woman at the well about a personal relationship with God, He said, “Regardless of whether you are in Jerusalem or on this mountain, if you do not seek the Father, then you do not worship.” That was in John 4.
He talked about it being personal but He didn’t try to talk anyone into it. He didn’t find people on the street to ask if they know God so He could explain it to them. And I don’t recall that He pursued people at all.
Actually, it was the other way around. They pursued Him because of the miracles. One exception might have been when He went looking for the Apostles, but after that, they pursued Him. And even within that group, the ones who pursued Him the most were the ones who saw the greatest things.
For instance, Peter, James, and John saw the transfiguration and I’m thinking they were there because they followed Jesus down the street. I’m not sure Jesus actually invited them to come along. It doesn’t say.
And afterward, Jesus didn’t run to the others exclaiming “Guess what just happened to me! Wow, it was awesome! I have to share it with you so you will get one of your own!”
However, Jesus talks a lot about hidden treasure. And yet He never talks about sharing it. Jesus talks about finding the hidden treasure and keeping it. He talks about selling all that we have to get it. But He never says to give it away.
Could this treasure actually be the relationship? Is the relationship the tree that produces the fruit – love, joy, peace, etc.? And isn’t it the fruit that is there for others to enjoy? Might it be the light we cannot hide under a bushel?
After all, consider that a tree doesn’t chase people down and hit them over the head with its fruit. Usually, a tree stands firmly in the ground and produces fruit which is then freely available to anyone who wants to reach out and take it.
And consider that a light stands on a table and shines freely over the whole room. Whoever wants to sit down and appreciate it can do so.
Jesus talked in parables so that those who heard Him would not understand what He was saying. Doesn’t that seem like odd behavior? Why did He want it to be hidden? And He even did this to the Apostles who didn’t understand many of the things He said. He explained but became frustrated with their lack of understanding.
So if it wasn’t freely available, then how did anyone ever come to understand anything He said?
Well, I believe the Disciple’s had to receive the Holy Spirit before they could understand. And a large part of receiving the Holy Spirit was because they pursued it. They had to go to a specific place and actively wait for it. And when it came, it was personal.
So let’s go back to the story of the 10 virgins. When the 5 foolish ones asked the wise ones to share, the wise virgins refused. That detail has bothered me for years. After all, we’ve been taught to ‘give and you shall receive’. Or to be a ‘servant of all’. And yet those virgins said “no” and were called ‘wise’.
My revelation for your consideration is that the oil and the treasure are both depictions of a personal, private relationship with Father. We cannot give it away. As a matter of fact, it’s a treasure that we guard and hold close to our heart.
The wise virgins said, “should we give to you and run out ourselves?” But don’t we often do this to ourselves? Don’t we often run into situations and give of ourselves, forgetting to guard our oil lest we run out? And don’t we sometimes suffer because we neglect to go get replenished? We forget that fruit is harvested by reaching out to take what is freely available, but oil is acquired through time in personal, private communion.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t give to people in need. No, not at all. Give as freely as the Spirit guides you.
What I’m saying is that we must define what we are giving away. Is it fruit, or is it oil? Fruit is the natural Produce. It is freely available to anyone who comes near us. But oil is that treasure that comes only privately, one on one. We cannot get it through others. We cannot share it and give it away. And we can only acquire it by spending time, solitary time. We cannot have a relationship on behalf of another. And we cannot bleed relationship into someone who is struggling to acquire their own. We cannot be anyone’s savior. That was already done.
Yes, we can tell them where to get their own oil, just as the wise virgins told the foolish ones where to buy for themselves. But they didn’t share their own. They didn’t even trickle it to them while pleading with them to go buy their own.
The boundary was clear and simple. We must get our own oil. It means we can point in the right direction but we cannot get oil for someone else. We cannot carry them there. And we cannot share what we have. They have to get their own for themselves.
Getting oil isn’t really difficult. It’s the simplest thing in the world. But it takes a little bit of time and the foolish won’t take the time. That’s why they were called foolish. And the wise understood that giving their own oil away would, in the end, help neither of them. They would both run out.