When we purchased a new car a year ago, we opted for a model equipped with the latest safety alerts thinking they might help us avoid an accident. Some are sophisticated, some very basic and simple.
One day last week, I was driving on the X-way when a warning light appeared suddenly on the message panel: “LOW FUEL.” Beside it was a small icon of a gas pump.
A simple alert, one I had not seen before. But the message was clear. It meant what it said. Another glance, and I saw the words: “Locate nearby gas stations?”
It was doing its best to be helpful. Using the car infrequently during the shutdown, I hadn’t thought of checking the gas gauge for weeks. I was grateful that the car thought for me! Because when I looked at the gas gauge, it truly was sitting ALMOST on empty! And there beside it was the little gas pump lighted up to get my attention.
I took the next exit and refueled. The “Low Fuel” alert had done its job.
Which started me thinking: aren’t there some “Low Fuel” alerts in Scripture that we should take notice of?
Jesus’ parable of the Ten Virgins is one of the first to come to mind. Here were five virgins well prepared with an ample supply of fuel, and five others with, as it turned out, very limited supply. Let’s read the parable from Matthew 25.
1“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
All ten took lamps, all wanted to meet the bridegroom. What a privilege to be invited to go out to meet the Bridegroom!
BUT all were not thinking alike. Verse 2 points up a difference:
2Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
What made the difference between “wise” and “foolish”?
3Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
Their supply of oil made the difference!
What is Jesus saying? That we are “wise” or “foolish” according to our supply of FAITH. What is the Scripture?
4… the just shall live by his faith.
Had everything gone as expected, all ten might have been “ready”? But as we know, the time of the bridegroom’s coming was not revealed. No one knew WHEN he would be coming. So the test was being prepared WHENEVER He might come.
As the parable goes, the bridegroom was “delayed.” Intentionally? Purposely? It is not said, but the test was real.
It was a test of faith. A test of endurance. A test of being PREPARED –whenever He might come.
Isn’t this the test we face today, to keep our FUEL supply at maximum level?
Back to the parable, Matt 25:5,
5But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
Jesus took this opportunity to picture a long period of time that was to intervene before His return… the time of the apostasy. During that time “all” would slumber, none ready to meet the bridegroom. But that time would end:
6“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’
Time to get ready, refuel, get ready!
7Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
And still, in this later time, some are wise and some are foolish. Some have a good supply of fuel—it is available! And some do not.
8And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
The “LOW FUEL” light comes on, but the foolish pay no heed. Now the need becomes more urgent, as they see their lamps burn low. And still the bridegroom hasn’t come. But they still know He IS coming. “Share your oil with us,” they say, “our lamps are going out!”
9But 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.’
LOW FUEL alert? Go, buy for yourselves! (The inference is, You should have gone long ago.) Buy oil! Get your supply!
But they are too late… because
10…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.
This is why we need to heed the alert. LOW FUEL alert means BUY NOW! before your supply runs out.
11“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Jesus’ closing lesson?
13“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
The only answer is: Be ready ALL the time.
Pay attention to the gas gauge when the alert comes on and get your gasoline. Don’t wait.
Thinking back on the LOW FUEL alert, I had three options:
1) disregard it completely, or
2) Read it and add it to my memory bank and think, It’s a good idea, but I can take care of it later; or
3) Act on it NOW, find the nearest station and renew the supply.
In our spiritual lives, it takes the FUEL of faith to keep us intent and energized.
It takes the FUEL of faith to do our work and do it to the Lord. If we let our supply burn low, we will be like the five foolish virgins that didn’t have enough oil to keep the lamps burning until the bridegroom arrived.
What should we do? Pay attention to the alert NOW, before the Bridegroom comes!
Brother Flowerday had a motto: Think faith, act faith, talk faith! It is a good way to keep ahead of the “LOW FUEL” alert.