Before we got started, I took stock of the food I packed for the ride. I hadn’t cycled this far yet this season, and I hadn’t done a major hill. I knew I needed constant nutrition as I prepared for the hill.
Two pieces of French toast, one string cheese, a bagel, two tortillas, a Clif bar, and a bottle of Gatorade. Twelve hundred calories isn’t a bad way to start a ride. I knew I would have to keep eating along the entire ride in order to have the strength to finish.
Only Rick wasn’t keeping up. It was apparent he wasn’t as prepared, and he had brought no food with him. I questioned the choice, but didn’t insist he take food.
Jesus tells of the ten virgins, five who are prepared with extra oil for their lamps, and five who have only enough for one burning. On running out of oil, the five who did not prepare asked the other five to share. The prepared declined, suggesting they could not share their preparation for the coming of the bridegroom.
In my experience, I gave Rick my Clif bar, and my tortillas when I left him at the church.
I could share my preparation–however I had done so too late. He had already passed the point at which he was able to digest and have those foods energize his system.
In sharing my food, I did not eat it. I was not prepared enough to climb to the Destination. I was under-powered because I tried to care for his needs.
As I progress spiritually, I can care only for myself. I can encourage others, but I cannot prepare for someone else.
Had I not shared, I may have made it. Maybe. But because I did, and because I progressed at his pace and not mine, I surely did not make it.
I was grateful to be allowed into the party despite not having prepared enough, and I’m grateful Rick made it, too. But the lesson remains. The parable’s warning is clear: I must adequately prepare myself and I can prepare for no one else.