Luke 19:11-27 (ESV)
11 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. 12 He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15 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. 16 The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17 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.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20 Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; 21 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.’ 22 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? 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and 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 the one who has the ten minas.’ 25 And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ 26 ‘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. 27 But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’ ”
Jesus’ disciples still didn’t understand that his rejection was necessary before his return to rule, so he used a parable to explain what his people were to do in the time between his crucifixion and his return. He spoke of a ruler who left to get his kingship. But before he left, he called his servants to himself and gave them each a sum of his money (about four month’s wages), asking them to use it to make more money for him while he was gone. The citizens under this man’s authority hated him, and they didn’t want his authority over their lives. When he returned, he checked in with his servants to see how much they had earned in his temporary absence. The first servant earned a one thousand percent profit. This servant did a great job and was entrusted with real authority as a result. The second servant earned a five hundred percent profit. He too was entrusted with much in return for his obedience. The third servant did not earn anything for the ruler. He stored the money away in a handkerchief. He actually thought poorly of his master and believed he was too hard on the servants. He decided that to work hard for the master was a waste of energy. His money was taken from him and given to the first servant. The third man ended up with no reward.
Every single follower of Jesus has been given the gospel. And every single follower of Jesus is expected to use the gospel to build the kingdom in Jesus’ absence. The ruler in Jesus’ parable commanded his servants to “‘Engage in business until I come,” and he has asked us to do the same. Remember, we are saved by faith alone, and yet Jesus clearly taught that eternal rewards will result from our obedience to him. As a Christian, what are you doing with the gospel you have been given? Are you working hard to build God’s kingdom? Or do you think God is asking too much from you and keeping the good news to yourself instead? We don’t want to drop the ball on this. Choose to invest your time, money, and resources into kingdom work now. Living for a reward in the life to come reflects a heart that loves and believes in Jesus today.