We pick it up at Luke 19:11
“Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the Kingdom of God would appear immediately.
Jesus is saying: “There is going to be a delay. There is going to be some time between now and when the end comes.”
The Scripture continues on: Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’
The parable here and the parable in the next chapter differ in some ways, but they are both about the stewardship of God’s blessings to us. This parable is concerned about stewarding money wisely, while the second one is about being a wise steward of our talents. Everything good thing we possess comes from God – we are to be His wise caretakers!
The chemicals in my brain do not function properly, but God still uses me, for He has compensated my lack, in giving me other special blessings that others may lack. Because of this, I don’t consider myself worse off than anyone else. In fact I seem to have greater awareness of the spiritual world than those who function normally! God has His reasons and one day I know that I will receive His total healing. When we finally accept, that all we have is not ours to do with what we want, but does in fact belong to God: then our attitude entirely changes. We are called to be good stewards of God’s blessings whatever they might be!
So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, “Do business till I come.” (In my Bible notes, it says that a mina was a weight of money equal to fifty shekels. In those days it was worth about three month’s salary.)
You would not give this amount of money to a person who has no aptitude for business. To invest like that would be foolish. For instance, if all you have ever known is living on welfare and you have never worked a day in your life, it would be foolish for someone to have you run their organization, requiring you to work sixty hours or more a week. I’m not condemning a person who doesn’t work for there are many reasons why people do not work! I am using this as an illustration to say that when this nobleman gave these people the ten minas and said, “Do business until I come,” in verse 13, it means that he trusted them and believed that they could make wise business decisions.
“And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.”
The Master expected to find good results from astute trading. Today, we could assume that it was like the stock market, but at that time, it was probably like buying and trading produce and making a business with the capital. Recently, I have heard of charities and Christian foundations that give microfinance loans, small loans of ten to hundred dollars to people in poor countries. This would allow the poor to start a small business for themselves. They would be able to buy chickens, pigs or any produce to sell in the market, or for ladies to sew marketable clothes. Within a year, if they do well, they would be able to pay back their loan with interest, but instead they only need to repay the original money they borrowed. When each loan was repaid, it would then be re-loaned to another similar worthy cause. In this way, people are not only being brought out of poverty but they receive tremendous satisfaction of a job well done. The people in our story have been given a similar opportunity to prove themselves.
Then came the first, saying, “Master, your mina has earned ten minas.” And he said to him, “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.” And the second came, saying, “Master, your mina has earned five minas.” Likewise he said to him, “You also be over five cities.”
Parables are parables; each given to explain a simple point. I understand that this story is not absolutely literal. For instance, if every Christian in the world was given authority over ten cities, there wouldn’t be enough cities for Christians to rule. The point is that in this parable each person was given the same opportunity.
Here is the Master, (Jesus) who has gone off to a far country. He is saying, “If you are faithful with what I give you, I am going to give you more!”
We are caretakers of everything God gives us. We have zero control over the world’s economy, but we do have control over our economy – and when we know that it all belongs to God and He has entrusted us to use it for Him, He will make sure that we receive more resources for His work and also more for our own pleasure.
Jesus rewards those who work faithfully for Him. There is a system with Jesus: work and reward. We cannot work our way to salvation and nothing we can do can make Jesus love us more, but Jesus is a smart and astute Master. He knows how to reward the hard workers and the people with a heart after Him. You do not have to be God to understand that if you are going to put someone in control of something important then he should be someone competent. A person must have a good track record in order to be given certain positions. No one fresh out of school is placed as CEO of a major corporation. Even the multi-millionaire owner of the business will not promote his son to such an illustrious position in his company until he has proved himself with certificates and actual experience.
It continues in verses 20-27:
“Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. “I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ And 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. Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’
“And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him, but bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’”
I certainly do not believe that a born-again Christian can go to Hell. If we misuse God’s money, gifts, or talents it will mean that we will have an unfruitful life here on earth and even much regret after death, but I don’t believe you would go to Hell! But you will most definitely lose rewards meant for you in Heaven when “each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15.)
This one servant had his mina taken from him. I believe that this person had never actually come into God’s kingdom in the first place, or if he was a Christian he would experience great remorse in heaven for his actions on earth.
Another point I want to make: If a Christian becomes so angry at God, to the extent that he has told Him to get out of their life, not just once in an anger-spit but over a long period of time, God will oblige. He will never over-ride our free will choices. So there may be people who do lose their salvation. But God hasn’t taken the initiative, the person themselves has wanted it that way! (Jesus promised in John 6:37 that He would never cast out any of His children.) If a Christian was cast out they would certainly know about it! Therefore if you are worried that you have overstepped yourself in God’s grace, be at peace. The mere fact that you worry about it means that the Holy Spirit is still in residence within you. You must understand this otherwise the devil will play havoc in your mind.
Everyone in the West has an idea of who Jesus Christ is. Certainly everyone does know that there is a God. “For the truth about God is known to them instinctively; God has put this knowledge in their hearts, (Their conscience.) Since earliest times men have seen the earth and the sky and all God made, and have known of His existence and great eternal power. So they will have no excuse [when they stand before Him on Judgment Day] - (Romans 1:19-20.) Creation reveals the fact that there is a Creator – we only have to open our eyes! Even remote tribes ignorant of the Gospel message, know there is a god of some sort and have their own form of religion. People just need to have a personal encounter with the God of the Bible! It’s not up to us to judge unbelievers, but it’s up to us to be a light to them. A Christian is always trading on the stock market of God. They should be trading “life” and bringing glory to God’s name.
Let’s move back to the principle being addressed in this parable. We are to be good stewards of God’s resources – this includes His money! God’s economy works totally opposite to the world’s economy and it’s just so much better! God has made our financial budgeting very simple and fair. Whatever He has allowed us to receive, we are to give back to him ten percent. We tithe because we are secure in the fact that God alone is our provider – therefore God is pleased. . “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
This is not going back to the covenant Law. No! It’s exercising faith! God has always rewarded faith. How was Abraham saved? Was it by his works or by his faith? Why was he blessed – He believed God! Nothing has changed, when we truly believe God, we know that all His principles will work to our good. If we tithe out of a sense of duty, we are left to ourselves to budget the remaining ninety percent! (We have given the rest away in vain!) Whereas, if we tithe by faith, God works out the rest so that we even have some left to give to the poor. God is so fair and wise: He doesn’t name a particular figure to give Him, just a particular percentage, so even a small child can be taught the principle of tithing. God’s ways are so much higher than ours.
He wants to see us use money wisely and to use some of it for His kingdom purposes, before He will elevate us with more opportunities and authority. So if we receive a wage, a salary, or benefits from the Government – see these things as a blessing from God. Even our ability to be able to work comes from God! He gave us the intelligence, the physical ability and the opportunity to work. If we refuse to give back to God His small portion, it proves to Him that we don’t trust Him as our Provider.
We can be really poor and still benefit abundantly. It’s such a fair system God has put in place for us. I do not want this message to be negative; it is a message to inspire us! The tithing principle revolutionizes lives!
In verse 17, He says: “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.” It is a comforting thought here – you only have to be faithful “over little.”
If there is anything that you can take from this teaching— Know that all the little work that you do is going to be highly rewarded by God and God wants to bless you abundantly more than you can imagine. Conduct your business His way and I will guarantee you will never regret it!