The Story of Ten Bridesmaids
1"Here is what the kingdom of heaven will be like at that time. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. 2Five of them were foolish. Five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but didn't take any olive oil with them. 4The wise ones took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The groom did not come for a long time. So the bridesmaids all grew tired and fell asleep.
6"At midnight someone cried out, 'Here's the groom! Come out to meet him!'
7"Then all the bridesmaids woke up and got their lamps ready. 8The foolish ones said to the wise ones, 'Give us some of your oil. Our lamps are going out.'
9" 'No,' they replied. 'There may not be enough for all of us. Instead, go to those who sell oil. Buy some for yourselves.'
10"So they went to buy the oil. But while they were on their way, the groom arrived. The bridesmaids who were ready went in with him to the wedding dinner. Then the door was shut.
11"Later, the other bridesmaids also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!'
12"But he replied, 'What I'm about to tell you is true. I don't know you.'
13"So keep watch. You do not know the day or the hour that the groom will come.
The Story of Three Servants
14"Again, here is what the kingdom of heaven will be like. A man was going on a journey. He sent for his servants and put them in charge of his property. 15He gave $10,000 to one. He gave $4,000 to another. And he gave $2,000 to the third. The man gave each servant the amount of money he knew the servant could take care of. Then he went on his journey.
16"The servant who had received the $10,000 went at once and put his money to work. He earned $10,000 more. 17The one with the $4,000 earned $4,000 more. 18But the man who had received $2,000 went and dug a hole in the ground. He hid his master's money in it.
19"After a long time the master of those servants returned. He wanted to collect all the money they had earned. 20The man who had received $10,000 brought the other $10,000. 'Master,' he said, 'you trusted me with $10,000. See, I have earned $10,000 more.'
21"His master replied, 'You have done well, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
22"The man with $4,000 also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you trusted me with $4,000. See, I have earned $4,000 more.'
23"His master replied, 'You have done well, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
24"Then the man who had received $2,000 came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man. You harvest where you have not planted. You gather crops where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid. I went out and hid your $2,000 in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
26"His master replied, 'You evil, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not planted? You knew that I gather crops where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money in the bank. When I returned, I would have received it back with interest.'
28"Then his master commanded the other servants, 'Take the $2,000 from him. Give it to the one who has $20,000. 29Everyone who has will be given more. He will have more than enough. And what about anyone who doesn't have? Even what he has will be taken away from him. 30Throw that worthless servant outside. There in the darkness, people will sob and grind their teeth.'
The Sheep and the Goats
31"The Son of Man will come in all his glory. All the angels will come with him. Then he will sit on his throne in the glory of heaven. 32All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate the people into two groups. He will be like a shepherd who separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep to his right and the goats to his left.
34"Then the King will speak to those on his right. He will say, 'My Father has blessed you. Come and take what is yours. It is the kingdom prepared for you since the world was created. 35I 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. 36I needed clothes. And you gave them to me. I was sick. And you took care of me. I was in prison. And you came to visit me.'
37"Then the people who have done what is right will answer him. 'Lord,' they will ask, 'when did we see you hungry and feed you? When did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you as a stranger and invite you in? When did we see you needing clothes and give them to you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'What I'm about to tell you is true. Anything you did for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'You are cursed! Go away from me into the fire that burns forever. It has been prepared for the devil and his angels. 42I was hungry. But you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty. But you gave me nothing to drink. 43I was a stranger. But you did not invite me in. I needed clothes. But you did not give me any. I was sick and in prison. But you did not take care of me.'
44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty and not help you? When did we see you as a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison and not help you?'
45"He will reply, 'What I'm about to tell you is true. Anything you didn't do for one of the least important of these, you didn't do for me.'
46"Then they will go away to be punished forever. But those who have done what is right will receive eternal life."