A story about ten girls
1The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten girls took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom.25.1 to meet the groom: Some manuscripts add “and the bride”. It was the custom for the groom to go to the home of the bride's parents to get his bride. Young girls and other guests would then go with them to the home of the groom's parents, where the wedding feast would take place.25.1: Lk 12.35. 2Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps, but no extra oil. 4The ones who were wise took along extra oil for their lamps.
5The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep. 6Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, “Here's the groom! Come to meet him!”
7When the girls got up and started getting their lamps ready, 8the foolish ones said to the others, “Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out.”
9The girls who were wise answered, “There's not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves.”
10While the foolish girls were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The girls who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed. 11Later the other girls returned and shouted, “Sir, sir! Open the door for us!”25.11,12: Lk 13.25.
12But the groom replied, “I don't even know you!”
13So, my disciples, always be ready! You don't know the day or the time when all this will happen.
A story about three servants
14The kingdom is also like what happened when a man went away and put his three servants in charge of all he owned.25.14-30: Lk 19.11-27. 15The man knew what each servant could do. So he handed five thousand coins to the first servant, two thousand to the second, and one thousand to the third. Then he left the country.
16As soon as the man had gone, the servant with the five thousand coins used them to earn five thousand more. 17The servant who had two thousand coins did the same with his money and earned two thousand more. 18But the servant with one thousand coins dug a hole and hid his master's money in the ground.
19Some time later the master of those servants returned. He called them in and asked what they had done with his money. 20The servant who had been given five thousand coins brought them in with the five thousand that he had earned. He said, “Sir, you gave me five thousand coins, and I have earned five thousand more.”
21“Wonderful!” his master replied. “You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!”
22Next, the servant who had been given two thousand coins came in and said, “Sir, you gave me two thousand coins, and I have earned two thousand more.”
23“Wonderful!” his master replied. “You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!”
24The servant who had been given one thousand coins then came in and said, “Sir, I know that you are hard to get along with. You harvest what you don't plant and gather crops where you haven't scattered seed. 25I was frightened and went out and hid your money in the ground. Here is every single coin!”
26The master of the servant told him, “You are lazy and good-for-nothing! You know that I harvest what I don't plant and gather crops where I haven't scattered seed. 27You could have at least put my money in the bank, so that I could have earned interest on it.”
28Then the master said, “Now your money will be taken away and given to the servant with ten thousand coins! 29Everyone who has something will be given more, and they will have more than enough. But everything will be taken from those who don't have anything.25.29: Mt 13.12; Mk 4.25; Lk 8.18. 30You are a worthless servant, and you will be thrown out into the dark where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain.”25.30: Mt 8.12; 22.13; Lk 13.28.
The final judgment
31When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all his angels, he will sit on his royal throne.25.31: a Mt 16.27; b Mt 19.28. 32The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats.
33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34Then the king will say to those on his right, “My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before 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. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, 36and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.”
37Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, “When did we give you something to eat or drink? 38When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear 39or visit you while you were sick or in jail?”
40The king will answer, “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.”
41Then the king will say to those on his left, “Get away from me! You are under God's curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink. 43I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me.”
44Then the people will ask, “Lord, when did we fail to help you when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail?”
45The king will say to them, “Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me.”
46Then Jesus said, “Those people will be punished for ever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life.”25.46: Dn 12.2.
Contemporary English Version (CEV) is copyright © American Bible Society. Psalms and Proverbs © 1991, 1992; New Testament © 1991, 1992, 1995; Old Testament © 1995; translation notes, subject headings for text © 1995; Anglicisations © The British and Foreign Bible Society 1997, 2012.