“Be prepared to serve when you are called to work.
Consider the story of the ten bridesmaids who went out to meet the groom with their lamps. Only half of them were sensible and took oil with them. The groom took a while in coming and all the bridesmaids fell asleep. They were suddenly awoken by a shout from someone announcing that the groom was coming. All the bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The ones who hadn’t prepared asked the other ones for oil because their lamps for going out. The ones who had prepared said ‘No, because there won’t be enough for all of us if we give you any’. They told them to go buy more oil for themselves. While they were gone, the groom showed up, and only the bridesmaids who had prepared were able to go with him to the wedding feast. The door was locked after them. When the rest of the bridesmaids arrived, they asked to be let in. The groom refused to open the door to them, saying ‘I don’t know you!’”
Whether the story concerns bridesmaids waiting on a groom, or servants waiting on their master, the moral is the same – they didn’t know when he was going to arrive, and it was only those who were prepared and ready who were praised and included. “Therefore, always be ready, because you never know when the Son of Man is going to come, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at dawn. So be alert.”
MT 25:1-13, MK 13:32-37, LK 12:35-38