Is Nice Necessary?

There is a misconception, to some, that being a Christ-follower equates with being overly nice. This line, between being kind and being used, becomes clear as we seek and listen to the Holy Spirit’s wisdom.

“‘At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

‘At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

‘Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

‘But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

‘Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

‘But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

‘Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.’” Matthew 25:1-13 NIV

Typically, this passage is not used to convey a message about niceties. John Piper says, “The parable is not about polygamy or monogamy. It’s not even about marriage. It’s about what it means to live in the light of the second coming with spiritual wakefulness and vitality, always ready to be found doing what our duty is when he comes.”

But, as I listen to this parable, it strikes me that these wise ladies would have been counted as foolish if they gave up a portion of their oil. Being overly nice would have shut everyone out. Likewise, we do not have to bow down to every request of our neighbors. Instead, we must be obedient when the Holy Spirit calls us to say yes or no.


Three-Min. Devotionals

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