Luke 19:16-19(NKJV) 16Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 17And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ 18And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ 19Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’
Luke 19:22-24(NKJV) 22And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ 24“And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’
This week we have been looking more closely at the idea of occupying until Jesus comes. The only place the term “occupy until I come” is used is in the King James translation of Luke 19:13. This is a parable Jesus told to the people in order to make them understand that the manifestation of the kingdom they expected was not going to happen immediately. The Jews of that day believed that the Messiah would lead them in overthrowing the rule of Rome. They expected him to establish a new Israelite kingdom on the earth. This was not the case. Jesus was going to establish a spiritual kingdom, but people would still have to live in the corrupted world for many thousands of years. This parable was to tell them how they could be successful living in the world until the day when the King of kings would come and establish the new earthly kingdom as well.
There are a number of elements we need to see in the story Jesus tells. First, we see that there was a nobleman who was going away to become the king. That is speaking of what Jesus was about to do. He would be crucified, buried and rise again. He would then go to his Father in heaven and sit at his right hand. One day he will return to the earth as the reigning King.
Ten servants were each given a talent or mina of silver. This amounted to 3 months wages. The nobleman told them to “occupy” with this money until he returned as the king. The New King James Version says, “Do business until I come.” The implication is that the servants are to take what the nobleman gave them and invest it to expand the nobleman’s influence and holdings. We are the servants of the nobleman and we have been given precious gifts to invest for our returning king. The greatest of these gifts is life itself.
Finally, there were citizens of the nobleman’s jurisdiction who hated the nobleman and did not want him to rule over them. They went to the ten servants and tried to discourage them from extending the nobleman’s influence. Today we live in a world whose citizens do not want Jesus as their king. They will try to discourage us from investing our lives and gifts to extend the kingdom of God.
In the parable, we see that the king does return eventually. He has been made the king despite the objections of those citizens. Our King will return someday. When he does return, “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.” (Philippians 2:11) In the parable, the servants must give account for what they did with what was given to them. So it will be with each of his servants today.
The first thing we notice when the king calls for an accounting is that he speaks to three servants not ten. What happened to the other seven servants? What did they do with what they were given? It does not say in the parable, but I have to wonder if they listened to the “citizens” and simply took the nobleman’s money and used it for themselves. There are many of the Lords so called servants today who have been exposed as those who use the gifts of God to benefit themselves. They do not even rate a mention in this parable.
Of the three servants the nobleman does deal with, two are commended. The first one comes and says, “Look, I invested your ten minas and I doubled it. Here are 20 minas for you.” The master says to him, “Well done good and faithful servant. Now that I am king I am going to give you 10 cities to rule.”
The second comes and says, “Master, I invested your money and I earned 5 more minas. Now you have 15 and not 10.” The master says to this man, “Well done good and faithful servant. I am going to make you the ruler of 5 cities.”
There are some important things I want to point out in what the master said and did. The two servants did not produce the same results and therefore did not get the same reward. Today, there is a tremendous pressure for fairness in the world. If this story were told today, many would say each should have ruled the same amount of cities. After all, they both tried hard. Just because one may have been more talented or worked harder does not mean he should get a greater reward. However, that is just not true. Not everyone is the same and not everyone will produce the same results. God is not fair so much as he is just. It is just that the one who produces more gets a greater reward.
On the other hand, the nobleman gives each man the same commendation. This shows that he loves and accepts them the same way. All God asks of us is that we do what we can do. Some will have greater results. Some pastors will have bigger ministries. Some businessmen will make more money. Some who witness will win more souls, but as long as we do our best with what we are given, we will get the same commendation. The greatest possession we will have in eternity will be the words, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Some who we would look at and say, “What have they done?” will hear those words because they obeyed God with their whole heart.
Finally, we come to the third servant. This man buried his “gifts” because he thought of the master as cruel and unfair. Where did he get that idea? The master was neither with the other servants. I believe he also listened to the “citizens” who hated the King. He did not use the mina for his own profit, but he did not invest it either. The king looks at him and says, “Let your own words condemn you. If that’s what you thought of me, why didn’t you at least put it in the bank so I would have some interest. Because you did nothing you will lose what you have.”
It is my opinion that, had the man at least invested the money, he would have received the same commendation as the other two. I believe God knows where we are and if the best we can do is put what we have into the bank to gain interest, he understands that. However, because the servant did nothing with what the master had given him, he lost what he was trying to preserve and got no reward. It does not say he was cast out of the kingdom, just that he got no reward.
I believe it is important that we see the necessity of occupying our land until Jesus comes. We need to the business of the kingdom. That business is winning souls and making disciples. It is to live our Christianity for all to see even if those around us may not want to see it. It is to build our houses on the rock of hearing and doing the Word and planting gardens of the word of God so that the fruit will be there for all to see. (Matthew 7:24-27 and Mark 4:13-20)
As we approach the New Year, make a quality decision to do the business of the Kingdom of God. If you do, you will “rule some cities” but more important you will hear those words, “Well done good and faithful servant.”