"At midnight the cry rang out:'Here's the Bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' Then all the bridesmaids woke up and trimmed their lamps."
Matthew 25:1-13; Revelation 22:14;
By Dan DiFolco
I had a boss not to recently who would occasionally say to me “you must not have trimmed you lamp.” Honestly it took me awhile to understand what he was trying to communicate to me in an indirect and gentle way. Eventually it became a lesson that has become a centerfold in my approach to life.
Even more honestly though, I am still so far from perfect at it. For some of you who read this will almost instantaneously understand the timing of this piece. However, I love you all too much to not remind us all of this tremendous literal and figurative lesson. I also may just be writing this selfishly to help me be accountable to this wisdom I have had to learn the hard way.
For me the beauty of the Bible in all of its wisdom is so dynamic and multi-faceted in the way it can come at you to meet you where you are. The story of the “Ten Bridesmaids” is one in which Jesus himself passes along great warning toward his return, but I also think of our mindsets and approaches to life. As sport officials in particular we have a great coming event usually every other year called “THE RULE CHANGE YEAR.” Now please don’t think the lesson here doesn’t apply to the beginning of every new season; this year just happens to be that such year. In this rule change year many of us are challenged with the changing of our minds and applications of which we go about our nightly assignments. Our physical action responses to our mental processing is being transformed “for the betterment of the game.”
I can’t stress and encourage enough this become your tagline this season is because we too often see throughout the Bible (especially the Old Testament) and in our profession what happens when those who don’t “trim their lamps” or “wash their robes”. Further in this parable Jesus shares that “the bridesmaids who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet” while the others missed out. If that doesn’t highlight it enough in Revelation 22:15 Lord says “outside are the dogs” referring to those who don’t wash their robes.
Don’t mistake these scriptures today just as an illustration to be overly prepared and ready for this season. While there are rule changes, travel plans, and fitness levels to address so your not the partner who puts the crew in a terrible situation; some of us need to really magnify this spiritually. It’s one thing to have your assignor or partner to call you out on “not trimming your lamp” or “washing your uniform (insert winky face emoji here)” but imagine sitting in the throne room being told by the Alpha and Omega, the King of the Universe that you didn’t.
I began this telling you that I love you all too much not to write this while it may be a lesson over played. But seriously, I care way too much about you to allow you to go into this new season (this includes spiritual seasons) to not be told to check your lamp and smell your uniform. If your light is burning dimly and sooting, or your uniform has a stench (2 Cor. 2:16, Eccles. 10:1) it may be time for a trim or a wash. Please know if this is you there is no shame or condemnation for this and always remember what Jesus says about this: “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
With Love and Only for HIS KINGDOM.
What are some things that you’ve been putting off that need to be addressed and trimmed? (Professionally and Spiritually)
Our robes are always at risk of stench, reflect on your processes for fighting off stench?
In the seasons of having a trimmed lamp with oil and a clean robe, how are you inspiring others? Is it positively received?
*There are versions of the Bible that refer to the bridesmaids as virgins. While there is accuracy to this, I believe it can and does put off an idea to some that you must be in the purest form to even be considered for the wedding banquet. I warn of promoting this because we are only purified through Christ by Christ. Be compassionate and sympathetic of how others may interact with such terminology.
**For my learning and studying style I enjoy the simplicity and complexities of the actual processes of biblical terminology such as “trimming a lamp” especially when my modern thinking doesn’t quite relate. So I recommend googling and studying the process the bible uses if you don’t understand. For me I had to google the process of trimming and taking care of an oil lamp.