Just before he entered into Jerusalem, Jesus gave one of his most well-known parables to a large crowd. It’s interesting to note that before the Bible gives us the parable, it first gives us Jesus’ motivation for telling it.
Luke 19:11 The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said. And because he was nearing Jerusalem, he told them a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away.
There’s plenty to say about that verse alone and the disappointment that a lot of religious people had back then that Jesus wasn’t there to overthrow the existing rulers and establish his reign right away. But what I want to focus on today is the parable itself. Let’s check it out real quick.
Luke 19:12-26 He said, “A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return.13 Before he left, he called together ten of his servants and divided among them ten pounds of silver, saying, ‘Invest this for me while I am gone.’ 14 But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We do not want him to be our king.’ 15 “After he was crowned king, he returned and called in the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to find out what their profits were. 16 The first servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made ten times the original amount!’ 17 “‘Well done!’ the king exclaimed. ‘You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.’ 18 “The next servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made five times the original amount.’ 19 “‘Well done!’ the king said. ‘You will be governor over five cities.’ 20 “But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, ‘Master, I hid your money and kept it safe. 21 I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn’t yours and harvesting crops you didn’t plant.’ 22 “‘You wicked servant!’ the king roared. ‘Your own words condemn you. If you knew that I’m a hard man who takes what isn’t mine and harvests crops I didn’t plant, 23 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ 24 “Then, turning to the others standing nearby, the king ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ 25 “‘But, master,’ they said, ‘he already has ten pounds!’ 26 “‘Yes,’ the king replied, ‘and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.
I almost didn’t even write about this parable because if you’ve spent even a little amount of time around church then you’ve certainly heard this one. Truthfully, I don’t even feel as if I have any particularly deep or new things to add to this parable. It stands tall as one of Jesus’ clearest and most enduring teachings. If anything, I wanted to meditate upon this teaching just so I can make sure it sinks deeply into my heart and spirit, as it’s among the heavier and more severe lessons Jesus taught. So today we’re going to live up to the name of this blog and just do some musing about what this parable means.
If you don’t make good use of what God has given you, then you will have what He gave you taken away. This is where we find a distinction between someone who claims Christian when asked what religion they are and somehow who endeavors to be a follower of Christ. I was one of those “Christians” for a majority of my life. I said a prayer, got dunked under some water, and as far as I was concerned that was that, heaven was now my ultimate destination, and what I did between coming up from under the water and my death was more or less up to me.
Part of that last statement is true. What I do with my time is up to me. Where I was wrong in my thinking was my perception that there was no consequence to my choice on how to use my time, talents, energy, and life. God expects us to do something with our time here on earth. Accept Him as our savior and Lord, first, and then spread the good news of how incredible living for Him and with Him is to others. Get saved, then work to do your part in saving others. Or to put it another way, get silver, invest silver.
I always feel the presence of someone lurking nearby when I talk about this stuff, just waiting to comment “but the Bible says we’re saved by faith in Jesus, not by works”. To that I say, you are absolutely right. There is no way to earn salvation. Only through faith in Jesus and believing that he died for our sins and rose again can we find salvation. Free gift, freely given, you simply have to receive it. The Bible also says that faith without works is dead. In it, Jesus tells us that once we’ve received him, we are to go out into all the world and tell others about him. We can’t just pick the “freebies” of the Bible and pretend like the rest of it doesn’t exist. Jesus didn’t say that life with him was completely without burden, he just promised that the burden is light. And indeed it is. Our burden is the responsibility that comes with knowing how to save lives. It means that every moment spent not saving lives or preparing to save lives is a moment wasted. Burdened with glorious purpose, with a heavenly charge to share the greatest news ever uttered to those around you using the time, energy, gifts, talents, and opportunities available to you.
That’s the investment for us as modern believers. He gave each of us things of value. Talents and gifts, but even things such as minutes and hours. And one day he’ll ask you to account for how you invested what you were given. He’ll ask me, too. I’m gonna have a real rough time accounting for the first large portion of my life. I’m thankful that in the kingdom of God, there seems to be a high return on investment, because I want to see major returns on all of the things I do for Him now. I intend to show up with more than what He originally gave me to invest.
Before I close this out today, I want to point out something important. In the parable, the king’s response to the guy who came back with ten times the money and the guy who came back with five times the money was exactly the same. “Well done!” The amount of return he saw was a simple detail, what he was clearly interested in was that an effort had been made in the first place. This is important because I know a lot of people who feel like they don’t have anything to offer. They’re not a gifted speaker, they’re not an energetic musical genius who can lead worship, and so they feel as if they’re never going to match what others can do for the kingdom. A lot of times this feeling makes them not even attempt anything for the kingdom. If you feel this way or have ever felt this way, there are a few things you have to remember.
First, comparison is a killer. We’re not meant to compare ourselves against anyone else. You are you, not me, not the pastor, not the worship leader. God lovingly crafted you, and believing that you have nothing to offer is telling God that He made a mistake when He made you. God doesn’t make mistakes, so if you feel like you’re worthless or have nothing to offer the kingdom, I’m here to tell you that thought is untrue and it’s time to release it. Secondly, we rarely see the fruition of our efforts for God. The people who were instrumental in my spiritual growth have no idea that I’ve grown into someone who preaches and teaches the word of God multiple times a week. All they know is that twenty years ago they spoke into the life of a quiet, emotional teenager. Just because they didn’t see that effort turn into anything while they were a part of my life doesn’t make their efforts wasted or useless, it just means we’re rarely around for the harvest after we plant the seeds. Every life I touch for Jesus, every time I share Him with others, they share in the reward. I am their return on investment, paying dividends for the rest of my life into their account with the King. And I’m so honored to be able to do so.
God expects us to do something with our time here on earth. The good news? You were designed to do the very thing He expects of you. Be uniquely you, using all that makes you who you are to bring glory to God and to share Him with the world around you. As far as burdens go, it’s as light as they come.
I love all of you. I hope the week is off to a great start for you. God’s making big moves right now. Get in alignment with Him and watch as He moves mightily. It’s a really great time to be standing as close to Him as possible.
If you have any prayer requests or just need someone to talk to, my email is always available to you at firstname.lastname@example.org