How many of us with children have left them with a babysitter? One of the first questions they ask is “when do you plan on coming back?” Well in the main part of the text Christ is talking about his return. He is explaining to his disciples that when he returns he will separate the good from the bad. In (Matt 24:45-47) Christ describes the good servant the one who is doing the will of his master while he is gone expecting him to return at any moment. Then in (Matt 24:48-51) he depicts the evil servant who after presuming that the master is not returning begins beating his fellow servants and living a life of drunkenness, and the master returns and we are told he will “cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites.”(v 51a) The rest of our reference scripture is about the parable of ten virgins waiting on the bride groom. Christ in this parable is speaking about himself and his return. Jesus is the bridegroom and the virgins are believers. The main difference he makes is that some will be wise and others will be foolish. The wise will bring enough oil for their lamps since they do not know when the groom will come. Now the foolish not having enough oil want to borrow from the wise, but the wise are unwilling to share because they would then run out and be unable to make it to the one calling for them. We can look at the oil in the story as our faith, while we live our lives waiting on the Lord’s return some will run out of faith while others live out theirs. Those who run out are going to ask to live off of those who have, to no avail.
Well in summarizing the story that follows the parable of the ten virgins, is that of the talents (Matt 25:14-30). We are not used to the phrase talent as they were in ancient times, to them a talent was a measure of money not a simple coin but a great sum (depending on the metal could be up to 20 years wages). The man refers to Christ who has given talents (skills and abilities) to his church, and he will return to find who has used them wisely. To those who have used them wisely he will give more and to the one who does not he takes away what they did have and cast them out (one commentary says to be exposed as hypocrites and destroyed v.30). As for the story that comes before our selected text that gets a little tricky because we start in the middle of one story. So for our purposes I will go just beyond the beginning of that story (Matt 24:36-42). This text starts out referring to the days of Noah and the pending judgment of God. Again these people were leading lives displeasing to God. So by the Lord telling Noah to build an ark, was warning the world he was going to unleash devastation. However since it took so long for Noah to build the ark people thought he was plain old crazy, until the world was flooded. All because no one would listen to the warnings and trust that he was going to do what He promised.
When I look at all of these stories with a more critical eye I am able to see several lines of connection and distinction. The overarching theme is to be prepared for the return of the Lord, because we do not know when he will come again. Upon his arrival we should be found as “good and faithful servants”. Then there are some areas of contrast between the wise servants and the evil, the prepared and unprepared virgins, and the faithful and unfaithful use of talents. They all correlate to either being wise or foolish. I write this hoping the Lord finds us all about his work in a wise manner.