The Story of Ten Bridesmaids
1“This is what the kingdom of heaven will be like at that time. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went outside the bride’s house to wait for the groom to come and get her. 2Five of the bridesmaids were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps, but they didn’t take any olive oil with them. 4The wise ones brought oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The groom was expected that evening, but when he didn’t come for a long time, all the bridesmaids grew tired and fell asleep.
6“At midnight someone cried out, ‘The groom is coming! Go out and 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, because our lamps are going out.’
9“ ‘No,’ they answered, ‘because there might not be enough for all of us. Go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10“So they went off to buy oil, and while they were away, the groom arrived. The bridesmaids who were ready went in with him to the wedding dinner. Then the door was shut.
11“When the other bridesmaids got back, they called out, ‘Master! Master! Open the door for us!’
12“But the groom replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13“So keep watch. You don’t know the day or the hour when the groom will arrive.
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. The man gave each slave an amount of money he knew the slave could manage. 15He gave five bags of gold to one, two bags to another, and one bag to a third. Then he left on his journey. 16The slave who’d received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work. He earned five more bags. 17The one with the two bags of gold earned two more. 18But the man who’d received one bag went and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it.
19“After a long time, the master of those slaves returned. He wanted to see how the slaves had managed his money. 20The man who’d received five bags of gold brought in the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you trusted me with five bags of gold. See, I’ve earned five more.’
21“His master replied, ‘You’ve done well, good and faithful slave! Because you’ve been faithful with a few things, I’m going to put you in charge of many things. Come, share your master’s happiness!’
22“The man with two bags of gold came next. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you trusted me with two bags of gold. See, I’ve earned two more.’
23“His master replied, ‘You’ve done well, good and faithful slave! Because you’ve been faithful with a few things, I’m going to put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24“Then the man who’d received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you were a hard man. You harvest where you haven’t planted, and you gather crops where you haven’t scattered seed. 25So I was afraid, and I went and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26“His master replied, ‘You bad, lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I haven’t planted and that I gather crops where I haven’t scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money in the bank, so that 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 and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29Everyone who has will be given more, and they will have more than enough. But as for those who don’t have, even what they do have will be taken away from them. 30Then throw that worthless slave outside into the darkness, where people will weep and grind their teeth.’
The Sheep and the Goats
31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels come with him, he will sit on his glorious throne 32and all the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate the people into two groups, the way a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He’ll put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34“Then the King will speak to those on his right and say, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take what is yours. Receive the kingdom that has been prepared for you since the world was created. 35When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed me; 36I needed clothes, and you gave some 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 did what was right will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we welcome you when you were a stranger? When did we see that you needed clothes and give some to you? 39When did we see that you were sick or in prison and come to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Go away from me, you who are cursed, into the fire that burns forever that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! 42I was hungry, but you didn’t give me anything to eat. I was thirsty, but you didn’t give me anything to drink. 43I was a stranger, but you didn’t welcome me. I needed clothes, but you didn’t give me any. I was sick and in prison, but you didn’t 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 that you were a stranger, or that you needed clothes, or that you were sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you failed to do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you failed to do for me.’
46“Then they will go away to be punished forever, but those who did what was right will receive eternal life.”