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. ‘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 those who have 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.’”
What is incredible to me in this passage is how quick the king is to reward faithfulness in what he has given responsibility over. Interestingly as well, the reward was the blessing grander responsibility. Two of the three servants were to “take charge” of 10 and 5 cities respectively, because of how they used the money he gave them before he left.
It would appear that Luke is saying that Jesus taught this parable because people thought that the “Kingdom of God was going to appear at once.” As history tells us, however, Jesus has ascended to heaven to return some day soon, and has given us gifts and “mina” to “put to work” in the meantime.
Interestingly, the third servant in the passage “laid away” their mina. They treated what the king had given them as though they had never been given it.
Just as all the servants in this parable had at least some resource and responsibility from the king, so too has Jesus given me resources and responsibility. This parable does not allow me to have such an attitude whereby I think I have nothing to give. It rather calls me to know and uncover the resources that God has given me to use, and to use them responsibly – put them to work for his glory.
Lord, help me to discern, and put to work, every bit of resource you have given me – my time, my talents, and my treasure – so that you may be supremely glorified in my life. And keep me from ever considering myself as a “have not” – for there are no “have not’s” in your Kingdom.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh