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. 2 Five of them were foolish. Five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but didn’t take any olive oil with them. 4 The wise ones took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The 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. 8 The 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 Slaves
14 “Again, here is what the kingdom of heaven will be like. A man was going on a journey. He sent for his slaves and put them in charge of his money. 15 He gave five bags of gold to one. He gave two bags to another. And he gave one bag to the third. The man gave each slave the amount of money he knew the slave could take care of. Then he went on his journey. 16 The slave who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work. He earned five bags more. 17 The one with the two bags of gold earned two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag 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 slaves returned. He wanted to collect all the money they had earned. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you trusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have earned five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘You have done well, good and faithful slave! 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 two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you trusted me with two bags of gold. See, I have earned two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘You have done well, good and faithful slave! 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 one bag of gold 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. 25 So I was afraid. I went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You evil, lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I have not planted? You knew that I gather crops where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well 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 slaves, ‘Take the bag of gold from him. Give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 Everyone who has will be given more. They will have more than enough. And what about anyone who doesn’t have? Even what they have will be taken away from them. 30 Throw that worthless slave outside. There in the darkness, people will weep 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 in glory on his throne. 32 All 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. 33 He 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. 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 invited me in. 36 I 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? 38 When did we see you as a stranger and invite you in? When did we see you needing clothes and give them to you? 39 When 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 and sisters 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. 42 I was hungry. But you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty. But you gave me nothing to drink. 43 I 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.”