PAY IT FORWARD
Lord, keep me busy in Your work.
Read LUKE 19:11–27
The Parable of the Ten Minas
11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.[a] ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’
15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.
16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’
17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’
18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’
19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’
20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’
22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’
24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’
25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’
26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”
a Luke 19:13 A mina was about three months’ wages.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“To each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)
The parable of the minas concludes the travel narrative. It alludes to what is to come and to what we are to do in the meantime: serve God using everything he has given us. The disciples believe that the kingdom of God is to appear immediately; we see their captivity to dreams of revolution (11). They cannot yet comprehend God’s reign, which is established in love, service, and a cross and only later consummated when the kingdom has penetrated God’s world.
The nobleman represents Jesus. The far country can point either to heaven or the Spirit’s mission to the world. The return is Jesus’ future descension (Acts 1:11). The ten servants represent us, his people. Our call is clear: to serve our King. This is the path to greatness. A mina represents about 100 days’ laboring wages. Unlike in Matthew’s version (Matthew 25:14–30), each is given the same opportunity – God evenly gifts his people for service. We are to serve God, paying these gifts forward on his behalf. The angry citizens are at enmity with God. We are to renounce such idolatry and serve the living and true God.
At his parousia (Greek: “official return”), the king calls his servants to account – judgment. Those who have served the kingdom get commended: “Well done, good servant!” – words we all want to hear! They are awarded further responsibility. The hiding of the mina in some handkerchief is a warning to those who profess faith but do not use their gifts in God’s service. Their reward is stripped and given to the faithful. Those who faithfully serve God receive more; those who do not lose what little they had and are summoned to forward to others what they have received. The message is clear: no loafing allowed in this kingdom. And our motives had better be upright: gratitude and wanting to please our King and God.
Write an inventory of what God has given you. Honestly assess how you are using these gifts. Joyfully, make any necessary changes.
Lord, suffer us never to allow our abilities to sit on the shelf. We acknowledge that You have given them to us for a purpose.