Jesus offers three parables to illustrate his statement in 24:44: Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:44, ESV)
The Faithful and Wise Servant
This one seems to be directed at church leaders. As the return of Jesus is delayed, they must stay on course. They have been entrusted with the church. They have to feed the people and care for them.
If they are not faithful and wise, they begin to be more interested in their own well-being. They feed themselves and not the people. This can easily happen because of the delay. “Surely the master won’t return today”, they say. Big surprise in store.
The leader who gets the job done has a reward in store. The leader who gets diverted has a punishment in store.
The Ten Maidens
This one is directed to every church member. We also must remain ready.
These bridesmaids had a job to do. When the groom shows up, they are to escort him to the bride. They must have their lights burning, or the procession will not be very impressive.
It makes me think of meeting Jesus in the air when he comes. Our job will be to escort him to earth and enjoy the reestablishment of his rule. We will welcome the coming king. The bridegroom of the church.
The groom is delayed (sound familiar?) and they sleep. Nothing wrong with falling asleep. We are all human. But even asleep we must be ready. Half were and half weren’t
We don’t know when Jesus will return. We must be ready and not grow slack in our following.
This parable is directed to those who have special abilities. With great power come great responsibility. The master goes away and leaves large sums of money in the hands of three servants. Two do a good job, but the other fails.
The question for me to ask myself is, How am I using the abilities God gave me? Am I using my stuff for the kingdom or for myself? Am I enriching the kingdom or myself? What will Jesus think about it when he comes?
Jesus is returning. The long delay can lull us into complacency. We dare not lose focus. We have a job to do. We have resources invested in us. We may have people to lead.
I’m hoping to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.”