Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids
“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids[a] who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. 5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’
7 “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’
9 “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’
12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’
13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
Jesus, help me be ready. You know I can be foolish. I’m sure I am not really prepared for the future as I should be. I’m not sure how I am even supposed to be prepared for Your return.
Have I used my time here on earth as if I were coming back this moment? No, not even close. Is that really what You want? If that were the case, I’d have no retirement savings, I would not own a home. Things would be a lot different Lord.
But I guess those things are rather minor. Have I taught my children as if You were coming back today? Have I loved my wife and prayed with her as if You were coming back today? Have I been a friend to others as if You were coming back today? Those are the real questions.
Jesus, change my heart and my mind so I do live as if You were coming back this minute, every minute. Change me Lord. My first thoughts about this were about “stuff”, not people. I can be so shallow. Help me to think about You first, and the people around me second. Let the “stuff” in my life be a distant third. Help me treat others today as if You were coming back tonight. Change me Jesus, change me.
Parable of the Three Servants
14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver[b] to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.
Jesus, are You gone Lord? I guess from the earth, You are, and You will return. Come soon Jesus, come soon.
16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.
19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’
21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together![c]’
22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’
23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’
26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’
28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Jesus, have I used what You have given me? I am so blessed. You have given me a comfortable living…have I used it to serve You? You have given me a wonderful family…have I led them to be Your followers? I am afraid I have done a little, but not near enough. I expect Your patience with me must be running out. My patience with me is running out. I’m about to give up Lord. I’ll never be a good servant. I just want to stop running and start walking…or just stop completely. Help Jesus.
The Final Judgment
31 “But when the Son of Man[d] comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations[e] will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
This makes me wonder what the difference is between sheep and goats Lord. I decided to investigate it a little. It appears sheep are usually described as docile, quiet, peaceful animals who love to follow their shepherd. They don’t need to dominate each other and are usually perfectly content to be protected and cared for by their shepherd.
Goats on the other hand are much more quarrelsome. They like to dominate other animals. They are easily angered and butt heads or kick the sheep. They wonder off on their own a lot and more likely need to be herded or pushed because they don’t really like to follow their shepherd.
Wow! Jesus, did You create sheep and goats just to teach us? I can be very goat like. I can also see that You are changing me to make me more like the sheep. Thank-you for this lesson Lord. I can see I have a long way to go. Please change me Lord. Help me to happily and quietly follow You. Help me to want to just be a member of You family, and not a leader of it. Help me to live in peace with my own family. Change me Jesus. Change me so much. Change me quickly, before it is too late.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[f] you were doing it to me!’
Jesus, help me be in this group. It is really an amazing passage. This group notices the “least” around us. It is so easy to look the other way…to do nothing. But they don’t. They see the needs and the pains and the sufferings of the people others don’t want to think about.
They notice, and they do something. These people You bring home are givers. They give of their time and their love and their things. Really they are giving of You Lord. Your time, Your love and Your things.
Lastly Lord, the good that they do comes so natural, they don’t even realize they are doing it. They are so humble that they don’t even know what You are talking about, and certainly don’t think they deserve to be rewarded by You.
Jesus, change to be be like these sheep. Open my eyes to see those in need. Open my heart so I want to help. Give me strength and courage and energy to do something for them. Make me humble Lord as these people are humble. And lastly Jesus, change my heart, so all this comes so natural to me, that I don’t even notice I am doing a good deed.
41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.[g] 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
Jesus, these people go to eternal punishment for what they did NOT do, not for what they did do. I believe my greatest sins are the good deeds You wanted me to do, and I refused. It has happened more than I can possibly remember. So many times I have been more worried about my retirement than about feeding a hungry child. How often have I not even noticed the person next to me who needed a good word.
Jesus, forgive me and change me. Make me eager to help. Don’t let me overlook the needs of those close to me like my family, or those who are suffering on the other side of the world. Show me what You want me to do, and give me the faith and strength and love to do it. Change me.
- Matthew 25:1 Or virgins; also in 25:7, 11.
- Matthew 25:15 Greek talents; also throughout the story. A talent is equal to 75 pounds or 34 kilograms.
- Matthew 25:21 Greek Enter into the joy of your master [or your Lord]; also in 25:23.
- Matthew 25:31 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
- Matthew 25:32 Or peoples.
- Matthew 25:40 Greek my brothers.
- Matthew 25:41 Greek his angels.