"Oil In Your Lamps: An Investment Plan For These Last Days"
A Moment To Ponder
(Reflective Questions and Self Evaluation)
*These questions should be answered a second time after reading this chapter.
- What are you investing in today?
- What does the oil in the lamp represent?
- What does it mean to be prepared?
- How important is Free Agency?
- What is the process of perfection?
- What lesson did you learn from each chapter in this book?
- If God were here today, what would He ask you to do?
- Would you do it for Him? Will you do it for Him?
The original title of this book was "Oil In Your Lamps: An Investment Plan For These Last Days" Conceptually, it started out in Chapter 8 as a book exploring the relationship between money and the gospel.
The early readers' first impulse upon viewing the cover could have been, "This is a book about investing?" Their inclination would have been right! It is a book about investing. But in the end, it actually became a book about investing more than money. It became a book about how we invest our life!
Investment: Something expended to obtain a benefit.
There are many things people can invest in: time, energy, thought, love, emotions, business, securities, land, marriage, family, one's self. All of these items have a value, and typically the intention of the core investment is to receive something that will return a greater value in the future.
This chapter asks two pivotal questions:
- How are you investing your mortal life? and,
- What benefit will that investment bring to you in the eternal life?
Throughout this book, the author has tried to address one's investment in their eternal and spiritual life. The reader should have discovered a powerful truth: "An investment in one's spiritual life, takes care of the temporal life." And equally true, when one puts the temporal life ahead of the spiritual life, they often fail in their spiritual life and fall far short of their eternal potential.
The Lord has warned us in these last days to be prepared, for His Second Coming is nigh at hand.
"But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." (Matthew 24:37-42)
In these verses the Lord states "Two shall be in the field and one taken." His meaning was that one would be taken into heaven and the other left. In the next chapter of Matthew, the Savior continues to teach preparedness and readiness for those coming days. The "Parable of the Ten Virgins" (Matthew 25: 1-13), referenced in Chapter 3 of this book, speaks of five wise virgins and five foolish virgins. Five would be ready for the bridegroom when he came, and five would not.
The whole purpose of this book is to help the reader "to be ready!" By using one's free agency correctly, one can be prepared for the Day of Judgment. The biggest part of that readiness has to do with the "oil" found in the lamps and vessels of the ten virgins.
President Spencer W. Kimball, writing in his book, "Faith Precedes the Miracle" (1972), page 256. states:
"Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures -- each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thoughts and actions, marriage in the covenant for eternity ? these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps."
In an article entitled "Parable of the Ten Virgins" found in the Ensign magazine March 2009, page 48-49 the parable is explained:
"The oil in the parable represents our faith and testimony, our purity and dedication, our good works, and our keeping of covenants ? all of the ways in which we have "taken the Holy Spirit for [our] guide." (D&C 45:57).
Joseph Smith expanded on the parable in modern day revelation. He describes what it means to be prepared.
Read: D&C 33:17, D&C 45:56-59, D&C 63:53-54
In the Parable of "Two in the Field" and the "Ten Virgins" there is a warning and a promised blessing given. Those who spend their time gathering oil will be ready.
"... Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come ... Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. . . Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing ... Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods." (Matthew 24:42, 44, 46,47)
When the resurrection does come, I believe it will be done under the direction of Christ by the power of His Priesthood. The proper powers, keys, and authorities will be conferred and delegated in order to perform what I suggest will be a priesthood ordinance. However, this is my speculation. During the Millennium more "mysteries of the kingdom" will be revealed. Upon receiving those revelations, we will be taught further on this subject. Despite my unclear knowledge of this future event, I have learned that the temple ordinances are a wonderful preparation for the coming of the day of resurrection.
The following narrative is a fictional analogy. The process and order of the resurrection as depicted in it, is inaccurate and hypothetical. However, this short story does illustrate the importance of gathering "oil in our lamps," and how it relates to the resurrection.
Read the Short Story: "Three Sisters and the Resurrection"
The moral to this story is that: Each child of God has their freedom to choose to fill their lamp and vessels with as much oil as they wish. How much time they spend filling their lamp is their choice. The good that each human soul does in life is their choice. They can choose to serve themselves, or they can choose to serve their God. This is the wonderful gift of "Free Agency" that we all have been blessed with. It was one of the rights we fought for in the War in Heaven.
It is clear by example, that the Savior of Mankind used his free agency to serve only his Father and His Father's children. He set the supreme example that we were to follow if perfection were to be chosen. The light and truth that we receive in the resurrection, will be a direct reflection of how we lived our lives; the unquestioned obedience we offered, the magnified service we freely gave, the purity of our heart, and the sincerity of our love, to our living God and His statues. May we treasure that agency and use it as God intended!
Perfection comes from "choosing the right!" The process of perfection could be outlined through the following diagrams as a movement starting from the left, and then ending to the right. Each schemata has its own significance. Volumes could be written about each. In some form or another, all of these illustrations were utilized in the composition of this book. It was a book about how to increase our light, become perfected, and receive our exaltation. But most of all, it was a book on; "how to show our love to God by becoming perfect!
The diagram below illustrates or describes the various steps or processes man must move through to reach perfection.
The value of perfection and exaltation are yet to be fully understood or comprehended. The power and sacrifice of the Atonement hitherto, barely appreciated. The blessings of the endowment and its gifts are still soon to be revealed. We do know that heavenly relationships will be governed by love, respect, and charity. Gratitude and appreciation will abound in that holy place. Mutual admiration will dictate interactions. Pure and holy purposes will be the common desire and motivation for all.
None of us will really know what it feels like until perfection is achieved. Nonetheless, we do get some insight from reading Chapters 4 and Chapter 7. We can become heirs to all that God possesses. (D&C 84:33-40). We can become kings and priests, queens and priestesses to the Most High. (D&C 76:56) In that sacred abode, we will be able to serve our Heavenly Father and our Savior for time and all eternity. We will be able to live forever with those dearest to us, our families. Together we will participate in His work and His glory. Such will be the reward of perfection!
In closing this book, "Oil In Your Lamps (An Investment Plan For These Last Days)," there are some soul searching questions for each of us to answer within ourselves:
- How much oil am I putting in my lamps each day? How much oil do I want to store?
- Has that oil become my most important and precious investment?
- Am I willing to invest my time, talents, efforts, emotions, obedience (oil) for the reward of Exaltation in His (the Celestial) Kingdom?
- Exaltation worth an investment in service, sacrifice, "long-suffering", and in "enduring to the end?"
- Will my investment in this mortal life show Heavenly Father how much I love Him?
- Has my investment focus in this mortal life become "an eye single to His glory?"
Your mortal investment is small in comparison to the investment already made in your behalf. What you must realize is that:
"God has already made an infinite and eternal investment in you!"
That is the degree to which He values each son and each daughter. In them, He has already invested dispensations of time, energy, emotion, and even more! His effort and sacrifice has existed since the beginning of time. For you and I, His love is perfect and without end! It is beyond our capacity to measure!
Paul perhaps came closest to understanding it, when he proclaimed in Romans 8:38-39;
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."