Bringing the Text to Life

Murphy's Law Inverted Matthew 25:1-13

Murphy's Law Inverted

When we see someone's flame Is flickering, are we prepared to share some oil?

At a Glance

We begin with a discussion of Murphy's Law and then wonder whether the law can be circumvented or turned on its head. From there we move to the biblical text to discuss a hapless quintet for whom, on the most important day of their lives, everything went wrong.

Editors' Pick

For material based on the Joshua text, see "The Joshua Principle," November 6, 2005, at

The text before us is perhaps the best known biblical illustration of what is commonly referred to as Murphy's Law.

Nonbiblical, contemporary examples abound. You've made arrangements to receive a call from a client on your cell phone at 3 p.m. and you've been taking calls all morning, but as 3 p.m. arrives, your battery goes dead, you don't have a charger and you miss the call.

Your 6-year-old kid has been rehearsing her part as a turkey for the Thanksgiving school play about the Pilgrims and the Indians. When you get to the performance, you take a couple shots, then the battery dies and you miss...

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