When Jesus tells the parable of The Ten Virgins, we get a window into decision making. There’s many lessons we can draw from this scripture, but the financial and money guidance is important on several levels. Keep reading for the positive lessons we can draw from this passage in the book of Matthew.
Considering the Future
In this Matthew 25 parable, the five wise virgins think ahead about the event they are set to attend. The wise women think about what they could need or want at the wedding commemoration. We know they gave thought to the question because we get the contrast of the other 5 virgins who did not. All 10 women brought a lantern to the evening party. Only five chose to bring extra oil in the event more was needed. The time taken to think about what lies ahead proves to be justified as the parable unfolds.
"“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps." Matthew 25:1-4 ESV
Departing from the Crowd
It can be difficult to stray from the actions of others in numbers. It’s often easier to go with the crowd. In this instance, 5 of the virgins chose to prepare ahead of time. We don’t know if they were questioned or mocked for the decision to bring along flasks of extra oil to the party. It’s certainly possible. The five make the decision to depart from the status quo and abide by their own judgement.
Taking Action to Be Ready
It’s one thing to see danger or turmoil ahead. It’s an entirely different thing to take action and act on that possibility. The five wise virgins saw the possibility that the bridegroom could be delayed for an extended period, and they might be in need of additional flasks of oil. The thought alone would not have done them any good. The five chose to turn the thought into action. The action in this case was a reserve of oil that proved to be valuable and needed.
"As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’" Matthew 25:5-9 ESV
Modern Day Application of The Wisdom of the Five Virgins
Think About What is Ahead
Modern life begs to keep our attention focused on the moment at hand. It can be difficult to think ahead, but it’s important for your family. The wise virgins think ahead to the wedding event they are set to attend. We can apply this same principle to thinking about family needs from later today to years ahead.
For example, your family plans to go on a trip to the park today. Do you take a few minutes to pack a lunch or go out to eat (outside of your weekly budget) when hunger inevitably hits?
Thoughtful consideration of future needs in your family extends beyond just this day or this week. Do you plan to add a child to your family? What’s your family’s future plan for education? Do you think you’ll want to move to a new home someday? Talk with your spouse about what the future could hold. You'll both be glad you did.
Be Prepared to be Different from Friends, Family, and Neighbors
As parents, we tell our children to be independent and not always go with the crowd. Sometimes, we violate that principle with our financial decisions. It’s often easier to just do what everyone else does. We often refer to this as “keeping up with the Joneses.” If you make a decision that has financial implications for your family, make it for the right reasons and not just because it’s what everyone else seems to be doing.
Take Action to Protect Your Family
Foresight is important, but it only makes a difference with action. If you believe unexpected might happen, then an emergency fund has to be established. If you want to send a child to college someday, then you need to plan for resources to support that goal. If you want to be prepared to retire someday, then you need to lay the groundwork for that to happen. Planning for future events that could impact your family financially is prudent. It’s not about predicting the future. It’s about you and your spouse taking reasonable steps to protect your family.
"Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." Matthew 25:11-13 ESV
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