What Do the Wise Owe to the Foolish?

Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids

"Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. . .

"At midnight . . . the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’

"But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’

“But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. . ."

Matthew 25: 1-10 (NLT)

Ten people assemble for a feast, but only five of them will enjoy the privilege.

These five are considered wise because they put extra effort into their preparation for the grand event.

Those who skimped on their preparation are considered foolish.

Well, is it unreasonable to ask that the wise share their wisdom with the foolish?

The wise have enough time to offer some last minute help, but instead they all go to sleep. They have the capabilities, because they give good instructions—although they give it too late. So how could they not assume that the feast which was so important to them would be as important to everyone else?

Jesus told the parable to stress the importance of individual preparation for heaven, but there is also some significance in the group setting.

What if, without downplaying the primary purpose of the story, we make use of the lessons we learn by applying them to current life situations? What if we strive for a happier ending?


Where the Contemporary Wise and the Foolish Sometimes Meet

The Board Room.  Photo was uploaded to Commons by Flying Saucer (talk).
The Board Room. Photo was uploaded to Commons by Flying Saucer (talk). | Source

How many times have you sat in an enclosed room with people who share similar goals?

What are the chances that you were one of the wise ones with information and skill to help the person seated next to you? What if you were one of the foolish ones, sitting next to person who could help you, but you were not even aware? Situations like these happen every day and the wise miss the opportunity to help those who are otherwise.

In the spirit of love and goodwill, here are just four responsibilities the wise may voluntarily assume among people who are not as mentally and spiritually astute as they are.

(1) Conversation
(2) Concern
(3) Vision
(4) Empowerment

1. Conversation

Could it be that the wise and the foolish in the parable segregated themselves? Or maybe the seating was not the problem; everybody was tired, anxious, focused on waiting, not feeling like talking.

In a modern-day setting, a likely scenario would be that everybody in the room was talking to somebody outside the room through electronic devices. No matter the situation, never underestimate the possibility of learning something meaningful from a stranger in your presence.

Talking to someone in the room calls for courtesy and diplomacy which the foolish may want to avoid; they do not exert more effort than is necessary. Yet, how different might be the ending of the parable (and many real-life situations) if the foolish initiate the conversation, ask a question and listen to ideas from the wise!

The foolish might become wise. The wise can fulfill their responsibilities to their fellowmen, all in the process of a chance conversation.


Well, is it unreasonable to ask that the wise share their wisdom with the foolish?

2. Concern

Did the wise in the parable care enough to notice that the foolish were not carrying extra oil for their lamps? Or did they adopt our modern day parlance of “minding our own business?”

Wise people in the same neighborhood concern themselves with the protection of each other’s children. Wise members of the same family concern themselves with each other’s health. The strength or weakness of one group member reflects on the entire group.

Some people are foolish only because nobody cared enough.  Photo by Payton Chung
Some people are foolish only because nobody cared enough. Photo by Payton Chung | Source

In real life, some people are foolish only because nobody cared enough to sow the seeds of wisdom into their lives. The entrance of an observant, caring, wise person into such a life can be a blessing. Perhaps the need is for one skill to learn, one principle to adopt, or one show of affection to embrace.

As in the parable, the need may be for one word of advice about how to obtain some extra oil for the times when circumstances do not happen as planned. Wisdom does not have the option of withholding itself from those who need it; sharing is a major concern.


3. Vision

Were the wise in the parable shortsighted concerning the purpose for the celebration? It was about the bridegroom, not about them. The greater the number of participants, the happier he would be. Did they envision the joy they would cause if they helped to get everyone ready?

Truth is, based on the lesson Jesus wanted to teach, the wise in the parable could not be condemned for not helping the foolish; but in modern day situations, the wise can place more emphasis on helping others.

  • It is foolish to be satisfied with barely getting by, when an individual has skills and talents which can make him or her capable of helping others.
  • Generosity opens up the heart to noble purposes which one cannot see in a state of selfishness.

Sometimes what we give to others, is what boomerangs to us in our time of need. Envision a life where people check on each other to make sure that everyone has some extra oil.


4. Empowerment

Members begin to sharpen each other's wit.  Photo by sluj78.
Members begin to sharpen each other's wit. Photo by sluj78. | Source

By empowering the foolish, the wise only get wiser. They increase the sphere of wisdom within the group, and members begin to sharpen each other’s wit. To begin the empowerment, act on the following:

  • Nobody is all bad; there is a spark of good to be discovered in everyone.
  • Build on the good with respect and appreciation.
  • Show that everyone is useful by asking everyone to participate.
  • Offer encouragement to keep moving forward.

The foolish people in the parable had many strengths, and with some early involvement with the wise, they could have made the celebration.

If only the modern foolish would admit to their folly—personal, professional or otherwise—and request help, if only the modern wise would share the gifts of love and compassion, how many more lives could experience heaven!

© 2014 Dora Isaac Weithers

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Comments 48 comments

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

I love the line some people are foolish because others couldn't be bothered to sew the seeds of wisdom. That is so true, in fact its pretty close to me, my ex husband is very clever, but not in the ways of reading and writing because he comes from a gypsy family. they never bothered, to them its not worth it, but since he has been with me I have taught him all those things, now he is so quick and is even written stories, wise words Ms.Dora, nell


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

I believe we need to save our own souls, and also try to help those we meet get to Heaven as well. You've given us something to think about.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Nell, thanks for illustrating that line with you and your husband's experience. Thanks for your input.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Ologsinquito, for reading and sharing your kind affirmation.


Ann1Az2 profile image

Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

I never looked at this parable like this before. I always considered it having to do with preparation. You brought up some very good points. Well done.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Timeless wisdom my friend. Everything we have is a gift. Should we not share it?


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Ann, the parable is about preparation--and about anything else to which it could apply. That's the beauty of a parable; we can tell the story anyway to make a point. And we need to make points appropriate for our current situations. Thanks for reading.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Bill, and what a gift wisdom is! Thanks for your validation.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

So often these days what is missing is chance conversation and engagement. People are so connected to their devices they have lost touch with one another. I like the reminder that we all bear some responsibility for one another. Well done. Voted up and more.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Flourish. I appreciate your valuable input.


RachaelOhalloran profile image

RachaelOhalloran 2 years ago from United States

I'm a firm believer in whatever we put out to others, whether it is wisdom, advice or charity, comes back to us (boomerang) in our time of need. This was very good use of the parable with well defined analogies that all should be able to identify with.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Rachel, so glad you like my treatment of the parable. Thanks for your encouragement.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Hi MsDora,

I love how you adapted the parable in today's situations and sharing the four responsibilities of the wise, as they truly get wiser by helping those who are foolish. It is wonderful how all of that works out when one thinks about it.

Just like when we go out to serve the Lord, although those who we are serving may receive a blessing, but it is us who also receive a tremendous blessing in doing so. I just love how it all works.

Voted up ++++ tweeting and pinning

God bless you.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Hi Faith, thanks for your kind encouragement. Like you, "I just love how it all works." We make God happy when we make others happy.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Thanks for sharing the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids MsDora and your wonderful take on it. Yes, I agree we should use our knowledge to help and encourage others in whatever way we can. Funny how I have just written a hub based on a psalm and you have written one based on a parable. Good stuff.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

I like how you used the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids here to add strength to your hub voted awesome :)


word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Great story Dora, After reading your hub there's no reason for anyone to be unprepared :-)


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

True communication is so meaningful. You have summed up so interestingly and with great courage here.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

Hi MsDora,

Another work of excellence! You have a way of bringing out the not so common, in the common. I doubt very many of us would have seen all you brought out of this one well-known parable for application. Thanks so much for a job well done!


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I did not "read" this hub --- I studied it. Alas you have been wise and shared your wonderful wisdom with me. May you have reward both here and in heaven.

e


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Yea, Jodah. Good stuff is all over the Bible. We do well to make use of it. Your article is excellent! Glad you like mine too.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Frank. You encourage me.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Welcome back, Word. I appreciate your continued support.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Devika. Glad you find the article interesting!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Hi Bill, an "excellent" from you means a lot to me. Thanks for your encouragement.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Eric, Amen to your prayer. May we both be receive heaven as our reward.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

"Am I my brother's keeper?" The age-old question comes to mind here. We have both a responsibility and an obligation to help those who are worse off than we, but there are so many things that get in the way! Our own busy lives are part of the problem, and the lack of priority on helping.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Denise, those "busy lives" do slow us down from caring for others the way we would love to. I really appreciate your perspective. Thank you.


sheilamyers 2 years ago

I love the lesson you've taught based on the parable. This is just my opinion, but it seems the "wise" people today get a good laugh at the expense of the "foolish" not knowing how or when to do something. Instead of helping, they sit there and mock and joke. You're lesson is a valuable one and I hope more people take it to heart. Great job!


Homeplace Series profile image

Homeplace Series 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

Very thought provoking piece. Great food for thought. Thanks for sharing! ;-)


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

I like the way you use the Bible story to set the tone for a modern setting. What you say is so true.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Sheila, I've seen that; it is irresponsible and pathetic. Hope I get my point across. Thanks for your input.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Homeplace, I appreciate your comment. Thank YOU for reading and commenting.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Mona, thanks for your affirmation. I appreciate your encouragement.


Michael-Milec profile image

Michael-Milec 2 years ago

O MsDora, if you ever written a best Hub article, then this one is the second best. In perfect world/ ideally /or in current one the burden is falling on the shoulder of the "wise," - even though " all became drowsy and fell asleep…" The parable is putting " all " of us (wise and foolish ) into a love setting environment in which we would have like to approach our ' not exercising thinking ' neighbor when THINKING is due ( Learning from the past experiences)- and lovingly telling him ' hey you foolish why don't you care for some extra oil in your jar?' ( It's remarkable why the Master of the universe is using those two specific terms?) Was Jesus foreseeing those "wise' to be accused of harassment down in the history ?

Why am I going this direction a question might be asked. Perchance, while in position to "share gift of love" I've been told " mind your own business …" by those of " foolish" rejecting the " so loved the world…" Leaving broken heatred all I could say my final words " For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost."

( Becoming wise instead of foolish , to me, Jesus left to a personal choice, even after we do our best obediently to His glory.)

Voted up, useful and beautiful.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

What you have written is so true and I love the way you have used the parable of the ten bridesmaids. We are all a little bit wise and a little bit foolish and it is good to be reminded of how we can use our wisdom to help those who are foolish to become wiser. God bless you.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Michael, it is so good to hear from you. Your comment always extends the message of the article to a place of deeper reflection. I appreciate your input and your votes.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Blossom, you state something that really needs to be said, "We are all a little bit wise and a little bit foolish." Thanks so much for your valuable input.


Doris Dancy profile image

Doris Dancy 2 years ago from Yorktown, Virginia

What an awesome idea to bring the Bible into modern society with examples that happen everyday to all of us. This way you make the lesson so plain and so easy for all to see how we can correct meaningful things in our lives. MsDora, you are truly a master at this hub writing thing you do.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Doris, you are very kind. I love to bring Bible stories off the page into our contemporary lives, and it thrills me when other people find the application useful. Thank you for your feedback.


mothersofnations profile image

mothersofnations 2 years ago

I love how you relayed this message from both sides - not just being prepared, but also sharing the knowledge. So very true and so very important. Great hub! GBY


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Mothers, so glad you like the article. Thanks for your kind comment.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Great share on this parable. I've never heard it from angle before. Wise people think ahead but help others get there as well. It's sad people don't plan for success. Blessings.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

This is a great place to sit and absorb some well needed wisdom. Beautifully done, up and sharing.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Teaches, you gave such a good summary for the article: "Wise people think ahead but help others get there as well." Thanks for your input.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank, Jo. You encourage me.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 20 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I think most of us have a certain amount of wisdom and foolishness. Perhaps f we share some wisdom that we have we might be more aware of where we are foolish and correct it. shared on facebook


MsDora profile image

MsDora 20 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Great observation, Dahoglund. Thank you for sharing this valuable insight.

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