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  • Writer's pictureAlan Fong

Keep It Trimmed

Today’s Verse:

Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. ~Matthew 25:7


Trimming the lamp is a necessity in order for a candle or oil-based lantern to give off maximum light. The wick would draw from the oil at the base of the lantern. In order to maximize the needed light, the wick would have to be cut and trimmed in such a way that it would be wound or wedge-shaped. This morning, we are looking at the parable of the ten virgins and the trimming of their lamps.

We see a continuous attention.

Trimming one’s lamp was something to done before a lamp would be lit. Before there was electricity, people relied on oil-based lamps or torches for needed light in darkness. These torches and lamps would burn for long periods of time as people walked from one distance in the dark to another, or to provide light so someone could find a location. Trimming included cutting away parts of the previously burned and used wick, and any excess soot or wax. The trimmed wick would be exposed just enough to maximize the lighting effect and to burn for another long period of time. Sometimes a lamp would be trimmed again that same night so that the lighting effect would not diminish.

We see a careless avoidance.

When a lamp was not trimmed, instead of a bright and glowing flame of light, there would be smoke and dimness of light. This could be very dangerous if the lamp was needed to burn all through the night, or if walking a long distance where no fire source was available. Anyone who ever experienced a lamp that was not trimmed would attest to the fact that the smoke and dimness made travel precarious and seeing in the dark very difficult . Imagine not having enough light to see, and winding up at the wrong destination! Just being careless this one time would be a sobering reminder not to do it again.

We see a conflagrant availability.

However, a lamp that was neatly trimmed gave off great light. The best example I can give is that of a flashlight when new batteries are installed. This flashlight will give off its brightest light once the new batteries are providing the needed energy source. A burning lamp would dispel all darkness for the person holding it. As long as there was enough oil to keep the wick burning, the lamp could keep burning for a long period of time. All passers-by would be encouraged by the brightness of a lamp that was burning brightly.

We see a consecrated application.

Keeping our lamps trimmed is a beautiful picture of taking good care of our spiritual life. It is a reminder that our lives must shine brightly in our testimony and faith. We must cut away at the sins and weights that easily beset us. We must cut away at desires and fleshly habits that can snuff our light out. We must be careful of the “waxy” distractions in life that accumulate and can immobilize our wick from burning. At all cost, we must avoid being a lamp that is giving off smoke and minimal light. We must bring our bodies subject to Christ. We must guard our spirit by walking in the Spirit. Paul said it this way in Phil. 2:15, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”

Is your lamp trimmed and burning brightly? Don’t let a day go by that you do not give attention to your lamp. Like John the Baptist, be a burning and shining light!

Have a burning and shining God Morning!

Bible Reading Schedule: Luke 12-13

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