top of page
  • Writer's pictureW.S. BARNETT

Are You Woke?

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

It's time to get right, to get real, and to get radical!

I’m a light sleeper. On average, I need about 6 or 7 hours of sleep. I often fall asleep in deep thought about issues, concerns, ideas, family, what I accomplished, and did not, whom I might have offended, or just tomorrow. As a child, I would awaken to the sound of my mother praying in the early mornings at 3 am, crying out to God for her children. The urgency in which she prayed and her heart for the lost impacted me. I am blessed to have a mother who continues to pray for us, but most importantly, her intent on teaching us to have a personal relationship with Christ and to be ready to stand before Him someday.

Jesus’ parable of the Ten Virgins is one of the most haunting stories in Scripture about ten women who awaited the arrival of the Bridegroom and how five of them were not ready.

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (ca. 1799-1800) is British artist William Blake’s dramatic interpretation of the parable. Blake was commissioned to do four versions of the work. Shown here is the earliest resplendent watercolor rendition. The piece is located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Notice the women looking overhead at the trumpeting angel. The artist’s use of low-relief sculpture is a classical technique used on the five wise virgins, aglow with pale, luminous colors. The foolish virgins on the right are panic-stricken, depicted in darker tones.

The parable warns anyone who reads or hears to be spiritually prepared for Christ’s second coming:

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the Bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the Bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the Bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the Bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward, the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:1-13)

There is a rallying call to wake up today, but this call is far from the call in this parable. While we are physically awake, spiritually, we are asleep – dead to the world. “Woke” is a political term that focuses on social and racial justice. The Woke Movement is widespread throughout the world today, and the church has become a vehicle of rapid expansion. “Stay woke” is a call to be aware of the issues at the forefront of demonstrations and political uprisings today. Left-wing politics, socially liberal, and cultural issues are at the center of the movement infiltrating the fabric of American culture.

In 2020, America dealt with a lingering deadly pandemic, economic collapse, and the most intense actions of activism, violence, and murder. It is hard not to be distracted or devastated with all that is happening in the world today.

I believe there is justifiable cause for addressing centuries of oppression and inequality, but I also believe that the critical issue today, one that should keep us up all night, is the thought of not being ready when Christ returns.


Time is of the essence. People are dying, and from the outside looking in, the world is hopeless. History is being re-written daily, and the moral landscape is reverting to a stance of total disdain for God. Nevertheless, because of the grace of Almighty God, we are still here. There are people earnestly sending prayers up for mercy.

It is time to wake up spiritually, and for the eyes of our hearts to be opened. It is time to wake up and avail ourselves to be active in our callings now. The alarm is going off, and we continue to press the snooze button, wanting to sleep a little longer. It is time to wake up – to get right, to get real, and to get radical – radical for the cause of Christ and the mission to spread the good news to the ends of the earth while there is still time.

In the end, what matters most is a transformed life committed to God and a readiness for His return.

Wake up! The time is now.

Keep your lamps trimmed and burning,

keep your lamps trimmed and burning,

keep your lamps trimmed and burning,

the time is drawing nigh.

Children, don’t get weary,

children, don’t get weary,

children, don’t get weary,

‘til your work is done.

Keep your lamps trimmed and burning,

keep your lamps trimmed and burning,

keep your lamps trimmed and burning,

the time is drawing nigh.

(African-American Spiritual)

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Ephesians 5:14


Copyright 2020 William S. Barnett

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins: Public Domain

No portion of this content can be copied, electronically stored, or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.

696 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page