11 As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem, and they thought the kingdom of God was going to appear right away. 12 Therefore he said: “A nobleman traveled to a far country to receive for himself authority to be king and then to return. 13 He called ten of his servants, gave them ten minas, and told them, ‘Engage in business until I come back.’ 14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We don’t want this man to rule over us.’ 15 “At his return, having received the authority to be king, he summoned those servants he had given the money to, so that he could find out how much they had made in business. 16 The first came forward and said, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten more minas.’ 17 “‘Well done, good servant!’ he told him. ‘Because you have been faithful in a very small matter, have authority over ten towns.’ 18 “The second came and said, ‘Master, your mina has made five minas.’ 19 “So he said to him, ‘You will be over five towns.’ 20 “And another came and said, ‘Master, here is your mina. I have kept it safe in a cloth 21 because I was afraid of you since you’re a harsh man: you collect what you didn’t deposit and reap what you didn’t sow.’ 22 “He told him, ‘I will condemn you by what you have said, you evil servant! If you knew I was a harsh man, collecting what I didn’t deposit and reaping what I didn’t sow, 23 why, then, didn’t you put my money in the bank? And when I returned, I would have collected it with interest.’ 24 So he said to those standing there, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ 25 “But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’ 26 “ ‘I tell you, that to everyone who has, more will be given; and from the one who does not have, even what he does have will be taken away. 27 But bring here these enemies of mine, who did not want me to rule over them, and slaughter them in my presence.’”
One of the most remembered lines from any presidential inauguration came in 1961 when John Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Whether he knew it or not, Kennedy borrowed this theme directly from our passage today in Luke 19:11-27.
Jesus is making His way to Jerusalem. The crowds are getting bigger and more energized. They assume they are on their way to be part of a new government. Jesus is going to be installed on His rightful earthly throne. Imagine the excitement!
Of course, we know now that isn’t what Jesus had in mind. He wasn’t going to Jerusalem to take control—He was on His way to Jerusalem to die, the ultimate act of sacrifice. Jesus wasn’t focused on what He was going to get—He was focused on what He was going to do.
Needless to say, Jesus’ followers didn’t grasp what He was communicating in this passage. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. The principles are hard to understand even now with the benefit of hindsight. In fact, the very essence of this passage seems unfair. The guy who thought he was being prudent actually ends up being punished. It’s just hard to make sense of it.
Perhaps confusion about this passage results from our focus on the wrong thing. We read this passage as an admonition to be good stewards with what God has given us, and that immediately takes us to tangible things like money and visible things like talent. Indeed, God wants us to be good stewards with what He has given us. But again, I ask, why punish the guy who wanted to play it safe?
I think the answer to that question comes when we remember that the best gift we have been given is the gift of salvation. Some of us received that gift when we were young, some later in life, and some near the end of life. I submit that this passage in Luke is a mandate from Jesus to be good stewards of that awesome gift of salvation. Playing it safe has no reward. Focus not on what you can get from your salvation; rather, focus on what you can do with your salvation.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Do you find yourself slipping into a “What do I get from this?” mentality when serving Jesus?
- How can you help those within your sphere of influence see your commitment to giving rather than to getting?
- Do you feel you are a good steward of the gift of salvation? How can you improve your stewardship?
You Will Need:
• 3 disposable solo cups
-In two cups fill up halfway with potting soil and leave one cup empty
-in one cup put three seeds in the cup with dirt and lightly water
-2nd cup put three seeds in and don’t add water
-3rd cup put three seeds in with no dirt or water
Remember to take care of that 1st cup and add water when dirt looks to be dry. Place inside by a window to have sunlight. You will see growth come when you plant and nurture and no growth from the other cups.
Remember to nurture your relationship with the Lord and also love and encourage new believers you have shared with. Spend time in His word, in prayer, and with others who love Him.
Several of our global partners minister directly by providing clean water, in South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. Pray that people who drink the clean water will thirst spiritually, and our partners will have opportunity to introduce them to Jesus, who offers Living Water.