Luke 19:11–27 ESV
As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and 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 the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’”
In the kingdom of God, the greatest risk is taking no risk at all.
The parable in today’s text is pretty straightforward. Permit me a loosely correlated analogy putting it in today’s terms. A mina would come to about four months’ wages for one of these servants. For purposes of this analogy, a mina equals whatever you make in four months.
Let’s say I make $10,000 a month. That makes my mina worth $40,000. Now suppose my boss gave me an additional $40,000 and instructed me to use this money to make more for the company. In other words, it was not my money but the company’s. My job was to take the company’s money and make the company more money. So far so good.
What do I do? Should I buy a car wash? How about a herd of cattle? Maybe I should consider a multi-level marketing pyramid scheme with some new health revolutionizing drink? Or I could just put it into securities like Facebook or Tesla or Apple. Then again, I could just buy a whole lot of Powerball lottery tickets. What will I do? Where is the most intelligent, promising risk?
How about you? It doesn’t seem like giving the money away is an option here. Do you make a safe play or take a big risk? There’s only one wrong response in this scenario: doing nothing with the money.
What if I came to the realization that the money I thought was mine was not mine after all? What if I finally realized it all belonged to God yet had been entrusted to me? And what if I understood God wanted me to use God’s money to do things that produced a return for his kingdom? How would that change the way I handled money?
I know a man of extraordinary wealth who uses his exceptional investment skills to make more money all for the purposes of investing it into promising ventures serving the kingdom of God. It’s extraordinary to behold, and he keeps making more and more money. The more he makes, the more he gives. There’s no percentage limit like a tithe. I sometimes wonder if he even keeps a tithe for himself.
It makes me wonder what it would be like if I even invested a tithe, 10 percent, of the money entrusted to me for the sake of God’s kingdom—not giving it, mind you, but risking it or trading on it? It sounds fun, but if I’m honest I’ve got to admit this has never occurred to me before. I live with a binary mentality as it comes to money. I either keep it for my own uses or I give it away. What if there were a category between for-profit and non-profit? What if I had a genuine for-faith mentality, risking resources for the sake of a greater return to the kingdom of God?
I know this may not be exactly what the parable in today’s text is talking about. On the other hand, maybe it is. Jesus is teaching us disciples what it means to be a holy risk-taker for the sake of his kingdom in the period between his first coming and second coming. It can be about money, but it can also be about the kinds of gifts, talents, and abilities God has given us.
One thing is for sure. The only risk we never want to take is the risk of not risking at all.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a son/daughter.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a saint.
How might you become more of a risk-taker when it comes to sowing for a great awakening to the kingdom of God?
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