Parable of the wise and foolish virgin
There were ten of them, and they were all virgins! However, the difference between the wise and the foolish virgins was that the foolish did not take the pains to carry extra oil in the flasks, but only looked after their short term provisions, and so, carried oil only in their lamps, vs 1-4! Had the bridegroom not delayed then all would have been well for all the ten virgins, vs 5! The delay in His arrival revealed the hidden truth with regard to the virgins! The delay caused all to slumber and fall asleep, vs 6! This meant that the delay in His coming was far more than what was actually expected!
Finally the bridegroom arrived, just like He said he would, but alas, only those who had that extra oil that was needed in order to handle the delay were permitted to enter, because without the lit lamps, it was impossible to enter and partake of the wedding banquet, vs 7-10. The story ends in an anticlimax, with the foolish virgins being left behind, vs 11-13! This makes it very clear that how we live our hidden life is far more important than our outward appearance before men. For only as we abide with our God who is a consuming fire and permit Him to burn up all the dross of sin that is present in our lives, can we ever make it to the marriage supper of the Lamb!
Parable of the talents, vs 14-30:
By means of this parable, Jesus made it very clear that the way in which we use our talents are also of utmost importance. A wrong understanding of God’s nature and expectations, as well as complacency and laziness can put us in the position of the ‘wicked and lazy’ slave, who buried his talent to his own hurt!
It must also be noted that God was perfectly just and did not show partiality in the distribution of the talents, because vs 15 tells us that the talents were distributed in accordance with the ability of each recipient. So there should be absolutely no room for self pity, comparison or a feeling of inferiority on this account! In the final analysis, the one who is faithful in little will be entrusted with much and the one who is unfaithful in little, even that what he had been given will be taken away and given to the one who ended up with the maximum talents. The worst part of the parable the way in which it ends, wherein the unfaithful slave is referred to as ‘worthless or unprofitable’ and ends up in the outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, vs 30! So, if we are not faithful in utilising our talents to the optimum level then we will certainly find ourselves in a place which we are sure to regret to be in throughout eternity!
The basis on which God will judge those who called themselves believers, vs 31-46:
This parable reveals that although salvation is not by works but by faith alone, yet if that faith does not manifest itself in the good works that God has prepared for us beforehand to walk in, (and especially to those who are considered ‘least’ in the of the household of faith), in terms of feeding the hungry, giving the thirsty a drink, clothing the naked, inviting the stranger in and visiting those who are sick or in prison, then we will be considered as ‘goats’ and not ‘sheep’ whose end will be eternal punishment and not eternal life!
Thus we see the need to show forth the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and especially in our hidden life during the dark and difficult seasons of life, as well as the need to use all our gifts and talents for the glory of God and the spread of His kingdom, together with looking for opportunities to walk in the good works that God has prepared for us to walk in. *On giving due attention to these matters, as highlighted by our Lord, it will prevent us from being barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 1:8, but rather will enable us to enjoy an abundant entrance into His eternal kingdom, 2 Peter 1:11! Amen.