Matthew 25 can be divided into 3 sections: the parable of the ten virgins (verses 1-13), the parable of the talents (verses 14-30), and the sheep and the goats (verses 31-46). The first parable is a story about ten young women taking their lamps to meet the bridegroom for a nighttime wedding. Five of them brought oil and were able to go into the wedding banquet with the door shutting behind them. The other five forgot oil and, while they were buying more, the doors shut on them and they were not allowed in. The man said he did not know them.
The second parable is about a master's servants. He gave each of them different amounts of precious metal. One servant received the weight of five talents. He went out and invested his wealth to produce five more talents of silver or gold. The second servant received two talents and was able to produce two more. The last servant got one talent and was frightened. So he buried and hid that single talent. Thus, he did not produce anymore than he started with. The last servant was fired. The one talent he had been given to invest was taken away from him, because he did not multiply what was given to him. Basically, this story teaches us that God gives us the tools to go out and be fruitful. But it is up to us to take those tools and go out and multiply with what He has given to us.
The third section is the parable of the sheep and the goats. It is a story with a shepherd separating the sheep from the goats; just like God will separate the righteous from the non-righteous. The righteous, on the right, will have served Christ through serving others, and because of this they will be allowed into the kingdom of heaven. Those who are not righteous, on the left, will have not served Christ through serving others. They will not be able to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Though all of these stories seem to be very different in nature, all in fact reflect on the same general theme - how to live in eternity with Christ. Or, in other words, Matthew 25 can be summed up by our friends from DC Talk with their 90’s rendition of the song “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.” The chorus goes like this:
"There’s no time to change your mind,
The son has come
And you’ve been left behind."
That is the exact sentiment that we see in the three parables in Matthew 25, each offering their own perspective or directive. But I especially love that the first two parables are parallel to one another. The story of the virgins calls on the church to watch and the story of the talents calls on the church to work. Vigilance is the focus of the first parable and diligence the focus of the second. Also, in the parable of the ten virgins we see clearly and know that Christ is coming back for His Church and we’re called to wait with anticipation, ready for His return. However, I think sometimes, in our waiting, just like the ladies in this parable, we can become selfish, lazy and distracted. Which is why the parable of the talents follows.
Again, we’re called to wait, but in our waiting, work! Work with the gifts and abilities that God has given to each and every one of us. Our talents are gifts that come in many forms and fashions. You may have the gift of speaking, writing, singing, or even working with your hands. Whatever it may be, it belongs to God, and we have been entrusted with them for a singular purpose, to bring about His Glory.
So the question I leave you with today is this, "What is it that God has entrusted you with?" In your waiting, what is it that God has given you to display His glory? What tools are you utilizing to share the Gospel? To build His kingdom? Maybe, you have yet to discover your gifts. You may even think to yourself that your gifts are too small and insignificant. Take a lesson from the third worker. Don’t hide it! Let the Glory of God shine through you with what He has entrusted you with. As we wait with vigilance, let us work with diligence!