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 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.’”
This parable challenges and inspires me every time I read it. The parable has two types of servants – those that do something with what the master gives, and one servant who does nothing with what the master gives. He fears the master, and this fear stops him doing anything with the money he’s given. Could it be that Jesus is suggesting that to “have” from Him is not simply to possess what has been given, but to “put it to work” like the first two servants do?
In contrast, the third servant remained in possession of the money, but kept it “laid away” rather than putting it to work. Is to” have nothing” not to possess nothing but to do nothing with what one has been given?
What was the difference between the servants that caused their different behaviour? It would appear to be that the third servant feared the master and his character, where the first two had no such problem.
I read that Jesus wants me to put to work what I’ve been given by Him – my gifts and skills, my time, my resources. But Jesus most important point for me is – how I feel about Him and perceive Him can be the difference between putting to work what I’ve been given and doing nothing what I’ve been given and losing it all. Being afraid of Him will shut me down – causing what I’ve been given to be “laid away”, gathering dust. This does not help me and it certainly doesn’t please Jesus.
Lord, I want to be of the first two servants, not the third. Show me where my perception of you is fearful and afraid, and give me a right perspective of you. I want to be confident and courageous in your service, but that means I’ve got to be confident and free with you. Help my heart be totally free before you, always, so I can effectively put to work what you’ve given me. Amen.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh