" Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.” – Matthew 25:1-7

In the parable of the Ten Virgins in Mathew 25, Jesus gave us a glimpse of the world's condition when He returns. Many Christians today and many nonbelievers as well acknowledge the troubled times in which we live. Darkness pervades our lives as the nightly news reveals earthquakes, fires, catastrophic storms, murders, child abuse, and multi-national wars. This world is dark and, in many cases, those waiting for Jesus have fallen asleep. Notice that all the virgins were asleep, yet when they woke up, five trimmed their lamps, filled them with oil, and let their lights shine while the other five failed in their vigilance.

Jesus calls all of His followers to be light in the darkness as His body here on earth. In Matthew 25:34-36, Jesus rewards His servants, "For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink: I was a stranger, and you invited me in; I was naked, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.”

In any contest between darkness and light, light always wins. No matter how dark the night is, a single candle drives it back. Yet, we are more than a single flame, we are Jesus Christ's body. We are filled and empowered by His Spirit to see this world shine with His light. But we must first wake up and let our light shine. Opportunities are everywhere and "life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21a)."

In every personal interaction, we can change someone's life for the better or for the worse - with a kind blessing or a bitter curse. We can ignore the blight of homelessness, or we can feed and clothe them by volunteering at a shelter. We can visit those in jails or prisons, being vessels through which Christ Jesus brings the dead to life again. Jesus has saved us for a purpose, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).”

Many people – even many Christians – blame God for this world's condition and for their own pain and misery. Yet, imagine the impact we could have if every member of Christ's body performed as Jesus commanded. We do not need to change the world, just the next person we meet. Let a kind word, much needed monetary or other tangible gifts, an act of love shown through volunteering at a jail, prison, or nursing home be the spark that sets this world on fire.

Jesus asks us to be hot or cold, not lukewarm (Revelation 3:14-15). This world is in this darkness not because of God’s apathy but ours – wake up and let your light shine! You are a vital part of Jesus' body called to change this world through His love. Wherever you are and through whoever you meet, be the light that brightens someone's day and that could change their life. For, we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).