A lamp primarily consists of a vessel with a wick soaked in flammable solution, usually oil. Its primary purpose is to allow other things around you to be seen more clearly. A lamp without light is of little use. We’re called to illuminate the world, so others will see Jesus more clearly. The lamp represents our confession of faith, to be light in a dark world.
"Fill your lamp with oil and do not just have enough oil, fill your vessels with more oil."
The lamp doesn’t exist to be the centre of attention but draws attention to the goodness of our Father in heaven. For the lamp to shine, it needs oil, and I‘m impressed that the Lord is saying to us, “Fill your lamp with oil and do not just have enough oil, fill your vessels with more oil.”
In Luke 12:35-36, Jesus said, “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks, they may open to him immediately.”
Entering 2020, we must be prepared for the things ahead. With the current raging bushfires in south-eastern Australia, floods in Jakarta, continued politically unrest in Hong Kong and similar ones in other nations, the most recent being the Iran-Iraq-US global scene, God is saying to us, “Keep your lamps burning brightly!”
"The oil must be bought, it cannot be borrowed, and it can’t be passed from one person to another."
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins tells us that they had prepared their lamps – but for them to burn brightly in the midnight hour, more oil was needed than what they had. When the foolish ones heard the cry, though their lamps were burning, they discovered that it wasn’t enough for the journey ahead as their lamps were going out.
When it dawned on them that they had neglected to bring oil in their vessels, it was too late in the hour. The wise didn’t have enough supply for themselves and the foolish when they tried to get more oil. Eventually, the foolish had to go out to buy oil for their vessels and when the bridegroom came, those who were ready went in with him to the wedding – and the door was shut.
It wasn’t that one group didn’t have oil, but they weren’t expecting such a long delay for they all slept.
The oil must be bought, it cannot be borrowed, and it can’t be passed from one person to another. Our relationship with God is very personal and we can’t buy discipline, character, attitude, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. These are developed through time and established over months and years.
We can decide for ourselves if our faith will give attention to our spiritual priorities. For each man stands on his own with God. For we know that the coming of the Son of man is described as in the days of Noah. God makes this clear in Ezekiel 14:14, “‘Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,’ says the Lord God.”
Therefore, as we move into this year, we must be prepared by the Holy Spirit, through vision and foresight to have more than enough. And so, I pray and ask of God that He’ll bring us to a place of humility and obedience, where we’re prepared for more and that He’ll use us to carry out His will.
May we continually be His light and offer up sacrifices of praise, prayer, intercession and thanksgiving to the One, Jesus Christ, who gave us all!
In Christ alone we serve, Pastors Tuck Yoong and Daphne Yang Directors