November 10, 2008

Trimming the Lamps

In Matthew 25:-13, Jesus once again conveys the mystery of the coming Reign of God and how to prepare for it. This teaching features ten bridesmaids, five wise and five foolish--determined by whether or not they brought sufficient oil if the bridegroom perchance was delayed. The wise refuse to share their reserves, and while the foolish search for a dealer (presumably late into the evening), the bridegroom beckons the wise to attend the wedding banquet with him. When the foolish return, they are too late to be a part of the celebration.

This text is often used as a cautionary tale about being prepared for the consummation of the age, as a warning against being “left behind.” Surely the exhortation to “keep awake” is helpful for any epoch. In our day, however, it might also be received as economic instruction. One trims a wick so that oil is used more efficiently. One keeps a back-up supply of oil to sustain during a challenging season.

Central has been “trimming the lamps” over the past two years by moving to a new campus that is much more efficient to operate. Further, we have shared space with a new church plant as a means of maximizing our return on investment. In the near future, a new church will be birthed here. There will be very few days when our facilities will not be humming with missional activity. We believe it is our charge to “keep our lamps trimmed and burning”--as the old spiritual intones—for present ministry and future possibility.

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