A Story about Ten Bridesmaids
1 “When the end comes, the kingdom of heaven will be like ten bridesmaids. They took their oil lamps and went to meet the groom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The foolish bridesmaids took their lamps, but they didn’t take any extra oil. 4 The wise bridesmaids, however, took along extra oil for their lamps. 5 Since the groom was late, all the bridesmaids became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight someone shouted, ‘The groom is here! Come to meet him!’ 7 Then all the bridesmaids woke up and got their lamps ready.
8 “The foolish ones said to the wise ones, ‘Give us some of your oil. Our lamps are going out.’
9 “But the wise bridesmaids replied, ‘We can’t do that. There won’t be enough for both of us. Go! Find someone to sell you some oil.’
10 “While they were buying oil, the groom arrived. The bridesmaids who were ready went with him into the wedding hall, and the door was shut.
11 “Later the other bridesmaids arrived and said, ‘Sir, sir, open the door for us!’
12 “But he answered them, ‘I don’t even know who you are!’
13 “So stay awake, because you don’t know the day or the hour.
A Story about Three Servants
14 “The kingdom of heaven is like a man going on a trip. He called his servants and entrusted some money to them. 15 He gave one man ten thousand dollars, another four thousand dollars, and another two thousand dollars. Each was given money based on his ability. Then the man went on his trip.
16 “The one who received ten thousand dollars invested the money at once and doubled his money. 17 The one who had four thousand dollars did the same and also doubled his money. 18 But the one who received two thousand dollars went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The one who received ten thousand dollars brought the additional ten thousand. He said, ‘Sir, you gave me ten thousand dollars. I’ve doubled the amount.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Good job! You’re a good and faithful servant! You proved that you could be trusted with a small amount. I will put you in charge of a large amount. Come and share your master’s happiness.’
22 “The one who received four thousand dollars came and said, ‘Sir, you gave me four thousand dollars. I’ve doubled the amount.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Good job! You’re a good and faithful servant! You proved that you could be trusted with a small amount. I will put you in charge of a large amount. Come and share your master’s happiness.’
24 “Then the one who received two thousand dollars came and said, ‘Sir, I knew that you are a hard person to please. You harvest where you haven’t planted and gather where you haven’t scattered any seeds. 25 I was afraid. So I hid your two thousand dollars in the ground. Here’s your money!’
26 “His master responded, ‘You evil and lazy servant! If you knew that I harvest where I haven’t planted and gather where I haven’t scattered, 27 then you should have invested my money with the bankers. When I returned, I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Take the two thousand dollars away from him! Give it to the one who has the ten thousand! 29 To all who have, more will be given, and they will have more than enough. But everything will be taken away from those who don’t have much. 30 Throw this useless servant outside into the darkness. People will cry and be in extreme pain there.’
Jesus Will Judge the World
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 The people of every nation will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right but the goats on his left.
34 “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, my Father has blessed you! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 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 took me into your home. 36 I needed clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick, and you took care of me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then the people who have God’s approval will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or see you thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger and take you into our homes or see you in need of clothes and give you something to wear? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “The king will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant ⌊they seemed⌋, you did for me.’
41 “Then the king will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me! God has cursed you! Go into everlasting fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels! 42 I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me into your homes. I needed clothes, and you didn’t give me anything to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t take care of me.’
44 “They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison and didn’t help you?’
45 “He will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you failed to do for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant ⌊they seemed⌋, you failed to do for me.’
46 “These people will go away into eternal punishment, but those with God’s approval will go into eternal life.”