Signs of Wisdom and of Folly in the Christian Life
Matthew 25:2
And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. We should not confuse the word "foolish" with the word "wicked." Some were thoughtless, heedless of possibilities; they lived in the present, and could not anticipate. Life is full of emergencies, and he is wise who prepares for all that he can imagine may come. Our Lord frequently impressed the importance of forethought in the Christian life. He had immediately before been counselling his disciples to be "always ready." It is that point he now further illustrates in these three parables of the chapter, showing that the true readiness includes

(1) maintenance of the personal religious life;

(2) full response to all Christian obligations; and

(3) kindly relations with all around us.

In the parable of the "virgins," we are taught that the wise Christian provides for the maintenance of the soul's life, but the foolish Christian is content to live on the experiences of today.

I. WISE CHRISTIAN LIVING. Strain of some kind is sure to come in every Christian life. It may take forms of affliction, persecution, temptation; but our Lord intimates that nothing will ever really test and try us so much as "mere continuance." This is his point in the teachings of the last time. Everybody was anticipating speedy consummations. He says, "the end is not yet." The bridegroom is certainly coming, but there may be long waiting times before he comes. Wise disciples provide for the strain of "patient continuing in well doing." And the provision they make is soul nourishment. They keep the oil stores replenished; they keep the soul's light brightly shining, and then they are ready for all circumstances, prepared for all delay and for all strain. That is the secret of Christian wisdom, "Keep thy soul with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." What are the soul stores from which the soul's light may be kept replenished, should be felly illustrated.

II. FOOLISH CHRISTIAN LIVING. There is both a wrong and a right concern for the "morrow." It is wrong to worry over it; it is right to anticipate and prepare for it. It is foolish merely to enjoy the present. Dods says, "The foolish virgins are a warning to all who are tempted to make conversion everything, edification nothing; who cultivate religion for a season, and then think they have done enough; who were religious once, can remember the time when they had very serious thoughts and very solemn resolutions, but who have made no earnest effort, and are making none, to maintain within themselves the life they once began." Christian folly is neglecting personal soul culture. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

WEB: Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.

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