The hour of our Lord’s second coming is very uncertain which is good reason why we should live not only in a state of habitual preparation but actual diligence in present service for Him, and engaged in works of charity for men. Those who have so lived will in that day receive the grandest degree in the universe, the “well done” of Jesus Christ.
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
14 ¶ For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
31 ¶ When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Matthew 25:1-13 – J. Vernon McGee
Matthew 25:14-46; 26 Intro – J. Vernon McGee
Matthew 25:1-13 – Be Ready for the Bridegroom
Three remarkable parables occupy this chapter and follow a marked sequence of thought. First, we are called upon to look to ourselves, and be sure that we are prepared to enter the wedding feast; that is, to enter into the holiest and closest union with our Lord. Many are called into that union of thought, and prayer and service, but, alas, how few there are who approve themselves as chosen for that inner intimacy! We must see to it that our hearts are pure with virginal purity, and that the light is ever burning in our hearts, through the continual inpouring of the oil of the Holy Spirit.
How marvelous the power which, from the noisy night procession of an oriental wedding, could bring this exquisite parable! The short, warm Eastern night, the ten girls, the cry, the peace of the prepared, the anguish of the unready, the inside and outside of the door! O blessed Comforter, may we not fail thee, as thou wilt not fail those who in their weakness seek thy help! —Through the Bible Day by Day
Matthew 25:10 – The door of mercy has hinges, and it may be shut, and then locked with the adamantine key of justice. (Raleigh)
Matthew 25:14-30 – By Faithfulness Win Reward
We are not only guests, but servants, who must give an account of their stewardship. Each bond slave has been entrusted with at least one talent. The number of talents varies with our ability to manage them. The Master is not unreasonable, and never overtasks. It is by use that the power to use grows. By carefully employing our opportunities, our sphere of service may be greatly widened, so that, at the end of life, we shall be able to do twice as much as at the outset.
Christ is always coming to reckon. Every communion season, every birthday, is a standing at the judgment seat of Christ, preliminary to the great white throne, II Corinthians 5:10. Let those who are entrusted with one talent only be specially on the watch, for they are most exposed to the temptation of saying, “We can do so little, we will do nothing.” What you can do best, and which most accords with your circumstances, is probably your talent. If you cannot do much yourself, work with your church and under the direction of your pastor, Matthew 25:27. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Matthew 25:19 – An Eastern allegory runs thus: A merchant, going abroad for a time, gave respectively to two of his friends two sacks of wheat each, to take care of against his return. Years passed: he came back, and applied for them again. The first took him into his storehouse, and showed them him; but they were mildewed and worthless. The other led him out into the open country, and pointed out field after field of waving corn, the produce of the two sacks given him. Said the merchant, “You have been a faithful friend. Give me two sacks of that wheat: the rest shall be thine.”
Matthew 25:21 – Your “few things” may be very few, and very small things, but He expects you to be faithful over them. (Frances Ridley Havergal)
Matthew 25:23 – The Hebrews have a saying, that God takes more delight in adverbs than in nouns; ’tis not so much the matter that’s done, but the matter how ’tis done, that God minds. Not how much, but how well! ‘Tis the well-doing that meets with a well-done. Let us, therefore, serve God not nominally or verbally, but adverbially. (Venning)
Matthew 25:23 – The master’s approval is the servant’s best wages. (McLaren)
Matthew 25:24—He which had received the one talent came.
It is remarkable that the man who had one talent should hide it. If we had been told that he who had five had hidden one we should not have been surprised; but for the man who had only one to hide it!—this is startling; but it is true to life.
The people whose talents and opportunities are very slight and slender are they who are tempted to do nothing at all. “I can do so very little; it will not make much difference if I do nothing: I shall not be missed; my tiny push is not needed to turn the scale.” That is the way they talk. They forget that an ounce-weight may turn the scales where hundred-weights are balanced. They do not realize that the last flake of white snow just oversets the gathering avalanche, and sends it into the vales beneath.
Are you one of these slenderly-endowed ones? And are you doing all you can? Are you doing anything? Even though you cannot do much in your isolation, you might join with others and do much. You might invest your little all in the bank of the Church, and trade as part of that heavenly corporation. Oh, disinter your one talent! Be sure you have one; ask the Master where and what it is; place yourself at his disposal. If it is only to carry refreshment to the harvesters—do that. Be thou faithful in thy very little.
We need not wait for the great future, to obtain this multiplication or withdrawal of our talents. They are already waxing or waning in our hands. There are many among us who, as life has progressed, have come into the use of powers of which at first they were perfectly ignorant; others are losing, through misuse, the little they had. —Our Daily Homily
Matthew 25:26 – Between the great things we cannot do and the small things we will not do, the danger is that we shall do nothing. (Monod)
Matthew 25:31-46 – Serve Christ by Serving Others
We are called to watch the procedure of God’s moral government. This is primarily a forecast of the judgment of the nations, Matthew 25:32. It would seem as though, in the first instance, their doom will be largely affected by their treatment of the Hebrew people, the brethren of Jesus after the flesh, Matthew 25:40. Probably this parable is being enacted before our eyes—Spain in the Cuban war and Russia today.
But the parable has a wider range. Our Lord evidently identifies Himself, not so much with great causes as with all who are weary and heavy laden, who are sorrowful or sinful, who have drifted into the hospitals and prisons of the world. None are too desolate and sorrowful to attract His loving notice, and He hails as “blessed” all who sympathize with and help them. In the closing verse, the words everlasting and eternal stand for a quality of existence which is altogether independent of time. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Matthew 25:32 – It is a remarkable fact, that while the baser metals are diffused through the body of the rocks, gold and silver usually lie in veins; collected together in distinct metallic masses. They are in the rocks but not of them. And as by some power in nature God has separated them from the base and common earths, even so by the power of His grace will He separate His chosen from a reprobate and rejected world. (Guthrie)
Matthew 25:40 – Services rendered for Christ never stop. (Talmage)
Matthew 25:40 – It is to motives God looks, not results. Fidelity not success regulates the final reward. (MacDuff)