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After Jesus gave an overview of the events that would unfold before His return in Matthew 24, He related three parables exhorting us to remain watchful and not to slack off.
The First Parable
Matthew 24:45-51— a master returns sooner than expected to find his servant behaving badly, thinking he would have plenty of time to change his behavior. The lesson for us is not to assume there is a long time before Christ returns and therefore put off overcoming sin. We need to ask ourselves if we are delaying making the necessary changes in our life because we think we have time to get around to it later.
The Second Parable
Matthew 25:1-13 — the bridegroom comes back later than expected and the virgins are sleeping. They have not prepared and trimmed their lamps because they have tired of constant vigilance. They eventually fall asleep… then the bridegroom arrives and they are unprepared.
The virgins in the parable symbolize someone who feels Christ is taking much longer than expected to return, and they have lost their enthusiasm for spiritual change and growth. Time has worn them down, and they have decided to take a rest for a while. They thought the task was so easy they did not need to expend much effort.
The question we need to ask ourselves, after reading this parable, is are we underestimating the importance of developing the fruits of the Spirit in our lives and the effort required to be adequately prepared?
The Third Parable
Matthew 25:14-30 — the master returns after a long absence and finds one of his servants has done nothing because he thought the assignment was too hard. Before his departure the master had given three of his servants money. Two had used what they were given to create profit and increase. The third servant did nothing and was unprepared for his master's return.
The servants who had increased the investment entrusted to them were rewarded accordingly (verses 20-23), while the servant who had done nothing was asked for an explanation. He said he had been paralyzed for fear of the master and of failure. The master’s reply was to admonish him because he did not try. He could at least have put the money in the bank and received some interest.
The servant who did nothing is a believer who has been given gifts and blessings from God, who expected them to be used to produce spiritual growth and character. This servant took a look at what was required, and the amount of effort needed and was overwhelmed. He concluded the task at hand to be so hard there was no point in trying.
Christ meant the warnings and instruction in these three parables to alert us to pitfalls we could face if we do not make our walk with God our first priority.
United News (Jul-Aug 2021)