Matthew 25 is a fascinating book of the Bible. Regardless of your church background, the teaching of Jesus can be quite challenging. Perhaps nowhere does His value system seem more exacting than in this chapter.
Preparation of the Virgins
First, he tells the story of ten virgins waiting for their bridegroom. As the day grows long, they all get tired and settle in for much-needed rest. But just as they fall into deep sleep, about midnight, somewhere rouses them with the exciting news that the groom is on the way.
Five of the virgins realize that their lamps have gone out and they don’t have any additional oil. They beg the other five for some of their supply, but the five wise virgins refuse – concerned that they won’t have enough to keep their lamps burning. As those without adequate preparation run off to buy some oil, the bridegroom comes and collects the five who are waiting and ready. The other five miss the boat. When they come to the wedding hall and start banging on the door, the bridegroom refuses to let them into the big wedding celebration and says he doesn’t know them.
The clear message is that we must conduct our lives in a way that pleases God. If we plan to accept Jesus as Lord later, we just might find that we waited too long.
Sheep or Goat?
Later in Matthew 25, Jesus talks about judgement day. Sheep will be separated from goats. Sheep go to a great reward. Goats go to everlasting torment. Everyone is one or the other. Either we let the blood of Jesus transform us into a sheep or the penalties of God's judgement will be upon us.
As he’s examining the work of the people who he finds to be righteous, he thanks them for feeding him, giving him something to drink, clothing him and visiting him in prison. They ask, “When did we do that stuff?’ He tells them that when they helped the least powerful and attractive persons, they did it for God.
Much the opposite, Jesus faults those he finds to be wicked because they didn’t do these things. Refusing to help the poor, oppressed and powerless is equivalent to not helping the Lord himself.
This also is an important lesson about how we are to conduct our work life. When special opportunities arise to help those less fortunate, we must turn our ears toward heaven. Ask God if this is one of those times? Is He asking us to do the good deed for Him?
We all want to complete our work life without regrets. By including God in the decision-making all along, we can hear wise counsel. Don’t put off turning your work over to the Lord. Let Him be God of every part of your life, including that third of your waking hours spent working.
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