Bring Enough Oil

The kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

Like the ten virgins, many of us are very eager and diligent to meet with the Lord Jesus Christ. We get ourselves ready and we wait for His return.

Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

Likewise, many of us are like the foolish virgins. We never get really ready for the Lord Jesus' return!

Of course, there would be some of us who are truly wise. We are always ready and we wait patiently for the Lord.

The bridegroom was delayed, and they all slumbered and slept.

No one knows the day and hour of the coming of the Son of Man. Not even the angels of heaven; only the Heavenly Father.

And all of us do fall asleep. We can get very tired and we do need a rest.

Of course, there would be some among us who would remain awake and would alert us of the Lord's Coming Again!

And at midnight a cry was hear: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!'

The moment has arrived! We are to meet with the Lord Jesus Christ!

Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.

There would come the final preparation and touch up before we meet with the Lord!

And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'

It is the moment of truth: many of us would panic at the Lord Jesus' Coming!

But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'

It is the moment of truth: we cannot rely and depend on others to meet with the Lord. We must get ourselves ready!

While the foolish virgins went to buy, the bridegroom came. The wise and ready virgins went with the bridegroom to the wedding; and the door was shut.

There would come a time when it is just too late! The door is closed!

It must be difficult for the foolish virgins to shop for oil during midnight. But they finally made it.

But it was too late! The Lord would not open the door!

No one knows when the Lord Jesus would return.

But we are to get ready and keep ready.

And we are to help one another to keep watch.

Like the wise virgins, we are to bring enough oil.

The Scribes and the Pharisees

The scribes and the Pharisees sat in Moses' seat. They loved to tell people what to observe and do. And they wanted people to do according to their works. But they themselves didn't do what they preached.

They bound heavy burdens, hard to bear, and laid them on people's shoulders. But they themselves would not move them even with one of their fingers.

All the works they did were to be seen by men. They loved:
- the best places at feasts.
- the best seats in the synagogues.
- greetings in the marketplaces.
- and to be called by men, 'Rabbi' or Teacher.

But we are not going to be like the scribes and the Pharisees.

We must observe and do all that God wants us to do. But we must not do them according to what the scribes and Pharisees had described.

And we are not to let people call us 'Rabbi', for we are all brethren, and Christ alone is our Teacher.

And we are not to call people our 'Father', for God alone is our Heavenly Father.

And we are not to let people call us one of their teachers, for Christ alone is our only Teacher.

We are all brethren.

Christ alone is our Teacher.

God alone is our Father.

We are not to bow down and worship men.

And we are not to exalt ourselves over others.

Instead, we are to serve one another.

For he who is greatest among us shall be our servant.

The Bible has told us that 'Whoever exalts himself will be humbled. And he who humbles himself will be exalted.'

Sad to know that there are those among us who are like the scribes and the Pharisees.

Working For An Organization

Many of us have been in our profession for years. We are old and experienced people who know almost everything that we are to do in our organization.

Some of us have become valuable assets of our organization. We have been entrusted with many difficult tasks, and we are proud of ourselves and our achievements.

Every now and then, our organization is faced with people coming and leaving.

Some of our old friends have left the profession because of age limit, terminal illnesses or self will. We miss them and often talk of them every now and then, but there is nothing we can do to stop it; every beginning will have its end.

Then, we have the young and energetic people who have just joined the organization. We love their energy, their passion, their fearlessness and their faith. They are young and vibrant, but we are suspicious as to how much they know and what they can do, and how good they are in following instructions.

Some of us cannot tolerate the young people in our midst; we like to talk about them, and often we criticize and talk bad about them.

Some of us would say it is okay and it is a common practice; that the younger generation must learn to submit to the elders in the organization.

Some of us love to talk about commitment to the organization; others may prefer to concentrate on our own works in the organization; still others, commitment to nothing at all, and just do what we are told and wait for payday.

Every organization has many people with different personality and commitment. How far and good the organization could function would very much depend on the willingness and the ability of its people to work together as one.

How nice it would be if everyone can work 100% for the organization!

Jungle Trekking

It was 2 km jungle trekking at a beach resort at 3 p.m. The weather was fine with clear blue sky and the hot afternoon sea breeze. I had forgotten my hiking shoes. But I presumed my jogging shoes might worked fine. Besides, it had been quite a long while since I did my last mountain climb.

My beloved wife was ready; she was excited about the whole thing. As a village lady, jungle trekking was a common thing for her. But after moving to town, we seldom went to the jungle except occasionally chopping down some bamboo to make bamboo rice.

We walked out of the entrance. It was a steep climb up the sloping road but was indeed a good exercise. We walked, talked, smiled and joked at one another, as we looked around for the entrance of the site.

Just then two young men walked toward us. They looked exhausted and sweat-drenched, panting and breathing fast. They could be after the mountain climb; I looked knowingly at my wife and smiled.

We greeted and talked to one another; our guess was correct. But we were on the exit way; the entrance was on the far end.

We continued our journey and found the exit. We looked at the sign board. It was the trek route illustrating the various stations and the visible signs. We were to follow the blue paint marks if we were to do jungle trekking and the red paint marks if we were interested in doing mountain climbing.

We had a little rest. Climbing up the mountain would be impossible at this time; we were told it would take 6 hour climb. We opted for jungle trekking; it might be late in the afternoon when we completed our climbing exercise.

The opposite route proved to be much tougher. The climb was more difficult with steeper slopes, and less trees and planted to hold to. The trek was narrow and winding, but it was clear and dry, and definitely not slippery.

Doing a long and winding climb up a steep mountain slope was really tiring. It could be dangerous when we got exhausted; a difficult route could be energy and emotionally draining. Besides, we could get careless too; had a fall or lost our way.

It was half an hour later when we reached the highest spot of the route. There were many tall trees around and the place was cooling and nice. We really sweated, pale-faced, and breathing was difficult. It couldn't be that tough, we told ourselves. Nevertheless, we had done our best, but our age was catching up.

Going down was not easy too. We had used the opposite route, and thus far it was a difficult climb indeed. We walked with slow deliberation and was quiet most of the time. It was better to be more observant, and very careful or we might have a terrible fall.

We heard the sound of a waterfall. The place was getting much cooler now. It was very inviting to dip the body into the mountain stream. The water must be very clear and cold.

It was exciting when we went down the bridge and washed our face and body with the cold water. I was tempted to drink the cold water too.

But down the slope further I was met with the heaps of rubbish around. It was an unpleasant site that I very much wanted to avoid. But it was okay; it didn't spoiled my day.

Reaching home, we were exhausted and ready to collapse. The body was aching all over. Nonetheless, it was the best climb that we had after quite a long while. But it would be some time before we would try it again.

Oh! Jungle trekking and mountain climbing...

Maybe the next time I should go for jungle camping too!

A Village Wedding

It was a warm and humid night in my wife's village. There was a special occasion: a village girl was getting married to a man from another village 4 hours drive away.

She was a beautiful Bidayuh girl and her man was a handsome Iban man. They might live many miles apart and from different ethnic backgrounds, but nothing could hinder them from loving one another. Love knew no boundaries when they first found one another.

It was an important occasion for my wife too, since she had known the bride and her family many years ago. They were her backdoor neighbors, and she had known her ever since she was a baby. I vaguely remembered the girl; I thought I had seen her before in my wife's house when she was still a young child during festivals and celebrations.

When there was a village wedding, the surrounding villagers would lend a happy hand. Since they were related to one another, it was easier and faster for them to work together. Some would be busy shopping for food items; some would get ready the community hall; some would take charge of the preparation of food for the invited guests; some would be busy with the bride's make up, not forgetting the bridesmaid and the mother of the bride; some would do the photo and video taking, etc. It was a special occasion, and everyone would play their role.

It was 5 in the evening when I reached the village. My wife and children had made their trip in the morning, since they had volunteered to help in the preparation of food.

The community hall was ready, so was the food preparation. The bride and her helpers and friends were doing the final touches with much fun and joy. Everyone was happily smiling.

The bridegroom's relatives and friends had arrived using large passenger vans. I remembered in the past people used to carter a bus when they had an important function in another village. But the trend had changed now; it seemed more convenient and easier to rent and travel in big passenger vans.

My wife brought me some food from the kitchen. The soup, veggies, and meats were really tasty. Hmmm... yummy! I ate all of them, with the fat home cat looking at me, patiently waiting for the bones.

The night had arrived. It was still very warm and humid outside. Everything was finally ready, so was everyone in the house. It was time to move slowly to the community hall.

The community hall was a short distance away. There were lots of people there already when we arrived . Many invited guests were seen lining up to shake the hand of the bridegroom, the bride, and their families. We also got ready with our gift.

The bride was sweating profusely, and my wife got ready with a clean handkerchief and helped her.

We exchanged greetings and some pleasant words and moved into the community hall. At one corner were the traditional gongs and drums. A old man in his mid 70s was playing them very skillfully. It must have taken him years of practices and hard work.

Then we got ready for the food session. It was buffet style with many different kinds of traditional dishes. People were lining up for the food too. It seemed that people here were well mannered and polite. There was no pushing or rushing, and there were ample places to move around and sit down.

Eating alone is never the same as eating together with family, relatives and friends. There were stories and folk tales to tell and laugh about, and some sweet memories of the past to recollect.

Time flied. All too soon the night was over. We had to return home to the town.

The night was still warm and humid. Many people were still celebrating. The singing and dancing session continued, and the drinking session too...

It might not be a grand wedding, but it was meaningful and memorable to the two families and friends, and to the villagers too, who never failed to lend a helping hand to any village wedding.

It was late at night. But it was still warm and humid...

There was still no sign of any rain...