Jesus gave us a practical illustration of this title in the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25. Five were wise and five were foolish. We are to determine who these are which directly follows the parable he taught in Matthew 24 of the faithful and unfaithful slaves. Both the wise virgins and the faithful slaves are those who are prepared while serving and waiting for the Master’s return. In 2Timothy 4 Paul urges his beloved child in the Lord to not only be that wise virgin and faithful slave but also to persevere to prepare others. But, alas, Paul said then as now, there will also be amongst us those who are the foolish virgins and the unfaithful slaves who merely profess but do not possess. These are also the “tares” amongst us; they look like the true thing but when the time comes they are unprepared and unready to meet the Master.
Those who are the wise and faithful are those who possess the gift of eternal life and the indwelling Holy Spirit. They are the true children of God as John tells us through his gospel. They are the ones who seek to study to show themselves approved; they are serving faithfully; they use the tool of inspired scripture and allow the Holy Spirit to correct their thinking, their actions, their motives and their deeds.
Those who are the foolish and unfaithful are those who profess to be believers but they “will not tolerate sound teaching. Instead, following their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves, because they have an insatiable curiosity to hear new things. And they will turn away from hearing the truth, but on the other hand they will turn aside to myths.” These do not hear nor heed the messages about sin and the need for salvation, but they turn away from such. They have fallen victim to the fables of the false teachers who say you must earn your way to heaven OR God only loves you when you are good OR you need to love self first before you can love others OR they say God would not send anyone to hell for He is a God of love. Paul warns Timothy about these teachers and instructs him to “Preach the message, be ready whether it is convenient or not, reprove, rebuke, exhort with complete patience and instruction.”
Today, are you in the Word seeking instruction from the Word? Are you are a possessor or merely a professor? Are you sitting under those who explain and interpret the Word of God as it was written, or those that read one’s own ideas into the Word in order to “prove” a pre-held point; imposing their own interpretation into and onto the text? Be discerning; be trained to “have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” [Heb 5:14] Are you amongst the wise or foolish virgins; are you a faithful or unfaithful slave?