Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. — Matthew 25:13
As school kids in the Midwest, the very word “Tornado!” was enough to send shivers through our bones. When there was a tornado watch in our area, we would keep a sharp lookout on the skies for any signs of severe weather. If the watch was upgraded to a warning advisory, we were ready to go to the basement if necessary. If we noticed a grayish-green tinge to the lowering clouds, we were probably not far from tornado activity. Since we lived several states north of “tornado alley,” the ones we experienced were shorter and weaker than the huge ones in states such as Texas and Oklahoma. Nonetheless, we paid careful attention when there was any potential for such an event. Although we were not official weather forecasters, we knew enough signs to take warning and watch.
Each of us needs to be a forecaster of a different sort. We know that a major event is approaching — Jesus’ Return. We can be passionate and educated about this subject, and alert to the signs of the times. We should be tuned to the Spirit’s voice and heedful of those who have knowledge of the Scriptures and have experience in successful Christian living. In light of recent world events, we should be vigilant against even the slightest spiritual instability and attend to the very first symptoms of a spiritual barometric pressure drop.
It can be easy to forget our sense of purpose when the wait grows long. However, it is possible to be prayed up and in tune with God, continually learning the lessons that come our way rather than lapsing into a drowsy state where we no longer see our need of attentiveness. Unless we are carefully watching, Jesus could come when we are not looking for Him, and then it will be too late to prepare. As we notice the signs of Jesus’ return, we must consecrate our lives afresh, cling to God’s Word, and keep our ties to this world loose.
The keyword of chapter 25 is “watch.” In this account, Jesus used parables to explain spiritual concepts to the disciples. A parable by definition is an earthly story with a spiritual lesson. This chapter gives three parables warning of a time of separation: between the wise and the foolish, the faithful and the slothful, and the blessed and the cursed. The first two parables illustrate that every man must live by his own faith, giving examples of some who were faithfully watching, and others who were not.
In the parable of the ten virgins, we gather that the bridegroom did not come as soon as they had expected. All ten had probably arrived at their post equally interested in receiving the bridegroom, but as he delayed his arrival, they lapsed into dozing, followed by outright sleeping. At the dark hour of midnight, they found themselves struggling out of a deep sleep. Those who had thought ahead and brought extra oil found that their foresight paid off. The strong warning here is to be certain we have made whatever preparations are necessary and that we keep our relationship with God up to date. At some point, the time of preparation will be ended for each individual.
In the second parable of the chapter, talents may be likened to God-given abilities or material blessings. We note the phrase, “according to his ability,” in referring to how the landowner distributed his goods to his own servants. The servants apparently had nothing, expected nothing, and as mere servants, deserved nothing. An interesting point in this parable is that the emphasis is not on how much the servants were given, nor on whether they were capable or clever, but on their faithfulness in using what had been given to them.
This parable does not teach salvation by good works, but rather teaches of Christ’s coming, and that there will be a time of commendation for profitable servants. The words, “Thou hast been faithful . . . enter thou in” applied equally to the one who doubled two talents and to the one who doubled five talents. Unequal gifts, if used with equal faithfulness, will be equally rewarded. The one who was chastened was the one who did nothing in response to the gift he was given.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
VI. The official presentation and rejection of the King
D. The prophetic announcements of the King
3. The development of prophetic history
e. Judgment on Israel (25:1-30)
(1) Parable of the ten virgins (25:1-13)
(2) Parable of the talents (25:14-30)
What are we doing with our talents? Are we making diligent use of what we have, however great or small? We can be ready to give a joyful account when our Lord returns.