“Minas and Me” – The Parable of the Minas
September 10, 2023

Parables to Live By

“Minas and Me” – The Parable of the Minas

Luke 19:11-27

Watch on YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-c-AJNC0TU&t=11s

During the late 70s and early 80s, there was great expectation within the church that Jesus would be returning soon. The reason was because the generation when Israel became a nation in 1948 was ending. The excitement stemmed from the parable of the fig tree Jesus told Matthew 24:32-35. It says the generation that saw the Jewish nation, the fig tree, bloom and was ready to give fruit would also see the second coming of the Son of Man. In the Scriptures, figs were often symbolic of the Jewish people and the fig tree was symbolic of the nation of Israel.

Everyone, therefore, was getting ready for Jesus’s return. Shelves were full of  books about the signs of the second coming, and that it would be soon. 

The Scriptures, however, were very clear that the while we may know the season of Jesus’s return, only the Heavenly Father knows the day and hour. We must therefore be busy doing Kingdom of Heaven business until that day. And this is what this parable reveals.

But some people did baffling stuff, like selling all their possessions. Now, I never understood that thinking. Not that I’m into stuff, but why bother selling our possessions if Jesus was returning soon? We can’t take the money with us! Consider as well that if we’re selling it, was it something we shouldn’t have had to begin with? Was it something Jesus wouldn’t approve of, as if He didn’t know already?

Realizing that, their motives may have been more towards getting right with God, no matter what they were doing was more works oriented acceptance. This comes from when Jesus said to the rich young ruler to sell all that he had and follow Him (Matthew 19:21).

But as we know, our getting right with God is more about God’s grace towards us than our works in trying to get there. As Paul said, that it is by grace through faith and not of works lest we boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Later, millennial fever took over, which saw people prior to the year 2,000 flocking to Jerusalem for the end to come. And again, that made little sense, because Jerusalem is going to be the center of where everything would happen, like when the Antichrist would overrun the city, killing many people prior to Jesus’s return.

If we’re still here on earth during this time, why not just wait until the fighting is over when Jesus would be king sitting upon His throne?

What I found even stranger is that on the eve of year 2,000, one hotel in Jerusalem had listed several apostles, Peter, and Paul, on their guest register, along with one King David, the angels’ Michael and Gabriel, and two messiahs. What ever happened to sanity?

Expecting the Messiah to come isn’t some recent phenomenon. It has been around for quite some time. It was such expectations that had Jesus telling the story, or parable, we’ll be exploring.

Jesus just announced salvation coming to the life and the house of the tax collector, Zacchaeus. He said the purpose of His coming was to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:9-10).

With those words Jesus launches into this parable, but notice Jesus’s stated purpose.

“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.” (Luke 9:11 NKJV)

The word “appear” is a powerful word. It means something was to become clear and out into the open for all to witness. Luke also makes sure we know how significant it was that Jesus was near Jerusalem as well.

When the people saw Jesus’s proximity to Jerusalem, and that many were hailing Him as the coming Messiah, that now was the time for the coming Kingdom of God. They believed now was the time Jesus would conquer the Roman empire setting the people free.

But instead of getting all worked up about the Messiah’s coming, Jesus said they should get all worked up on furthering the Kingdom of God.

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.’ 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.” (Luke 19:12-15 NKJV)

In those days, noblemen would go to the capital cities of those empires that ruled over the land to petition for the right to become king. Citizens also had the right to protest such appointments at the same time.

Such was the case 30 years prior to Jesus’s story. Herod Archelaus, son of Herod the Great, went to Rome to submit his claim to rule over the area of Samaria, Judea, and Idumea. His brother, Antipas, and many other Jews opposed him in Rome, but were unsuccessful. But after nine years of barbarism, they banished Archelaus to Vienna.

In the minds of those listening to this parable, this was not just an illustration. It was real life. They further understood both the process and the consequences of Jesus’s parable.

With that in mind, let’s explore what Jesus said.

The nobleman was on his way to petition the ruling empire to be crowned king over the land. In his absence, he gave ten of his servants a mina each telling them to invest it, or put it to work, until he returns. They were to be about building and investing in his business’s interest.

Now, a mina was equal to 100 days worth of wages. So, it was no small amount the nobleman gave.

There was also a group of citizens who detested the nobleman and didn’t want him to rule as their king. They sent a delegation to oppose his ascension. But their efforts failed. The nobleman prevailed and returned as king, and now he called his servants to give an account about how they handled what the nobleman, now king, had given.

The story Jesus told was about Himself, and how he would go away to heaven to receive His kingship, and there will likewise be those who oppose His rule. And in like manner, He will give to His servants, those who are his disciples, an equal share of something valuable while He is away. And when Jesus returns, we will give an account of our use of His gift to further His Kingdom while He was away.

Even though Jesus predicted a period between his ascension and return, the main point of the story concerns what His servants would do with what He gave them until He comes back. What are we doing then with what He gave?

Jesus links this parable to what the mina stands for. The nobleman gave each servant the same amount, which differs from the Parable of the Talents as recorded in Matthew 25. In the Parable of the Talents, the servants received differing amounts; but the nobleman in our parable gave the same amount to each. Therefore, we can’t interpret this parable the same, and that is, minas are not spiritual gifts, material possessions, nor are they our God-given talents.

What does Jesus give us that is the same? The answer: The gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ, which goes along with the event that sparked this parable in the first place, which was Zacchaeus’s salvation.

Some say it is faith because the Apostle Paul says it is God’s grace that saves us through faith, and not of works lest we boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Faith, however, is not what the mina stands for, because the Bible says God has given every believer a certain measure of faith, some more than others. Therefore, not everyone has the same measure of faith (Ephesians 4:7; Romans 12:3).

But Jesus entrusted every believer with the gospel message. And, as God’s servants, we are to be His representatives, giving the gospel message until He returns. Jesus calls it the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

And there isn’t a more important and greater service we could provide to this world that is so lost and getting worse. People are experiencing one catastrophe after another around the world, from man’s inhumanity towards each other through the increase of violence in all its forms, or as unprecedented natural disasters continue to increase wreaking havoc everywhere. And the human toll is off the charts, as suicides are increasing, homelessness is everywhere, as is starvation, plagues, and illnesses are increasing at an alarming rate.

And we have the greatest news humanity can ever hear, and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ, that He came to heal and to set us free from the power of sin and death, giving to all those who believe eternal life in heaven and in the presence of God, where there is no more pain, suffering, or weeping tears over the agony and sorrows this world is serving up.

What I could say for all of us is that the greatest joy we can have is to know Christ, and the second greatest joy is to make Him known.

The Parable’s Principal Point: “Fulfilling Jesus’s Call Determines Our Destiny”

From this parable, Jesus presents three categories of people He’ll find on His return.

1.  For the Faithful, There Will be Reward

In God’s economy, God rewards faithfulness.

“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.’” (Luke 19:16-19 NKJV)

Notice the humility in these servants’ response. Even though they increased what they had, they still referred to it as the king’s mina. Think about it, why do all that work when it would end up belonging to the king later? The answer is their service to the king was based upon their loyalty and faithfulness.

And because of their loyalty and faithfulness, the king rewarded them. Since he could trust them in the little things, the king gave them greater responsibilities.

We are to be about the Lord’s business until He returns, and while this activity doesn’t get us into heaven, it determines our reward in heaven.

Further, this parable reveals what our eternity will be like, and filled with. We can only imagine what we’ll do in Heaven. We hear it being a place of rest and worship, both of which are beyond our comprehension because we’ll be face to face with God.

But this idea of rest is not the rest of inactivity, but an active productive rest, as this parable reveals. Jesus gave these faithful servants cities to rule over, which shows how we will take part in the future governance of the universe.

To those who return with Jesus at the end of the Tribulation period, the Bible says that they will live and reign with Christ for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4).

The picture, therefore, that Jesus paints for us of heaven is not one of passive adoration but of passionate responsibility. It is a life filled with joy and service in God’s presence.

We see faithfulness being tied to our reward in heaven elsewhere in Scripture.

The Apostle Paul said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV)

One day we will all give an account before God for the good and the bad, the valuable and the worthless things that we have done.

Before I move on, let me share a radical thought, that the bad, and hence our sin being shown for all to look at in heaven will not cause us to weep, because in heaven there is no more tears or sorrow. Instead, when God reveals our sins, it will be a time of glorifying God because they will appear as sins forgiven.

All of heaven will rejoice at the mercy of God, who pardons our sins. All of heaven will rejoice in the blood of Jesus Christ that purifies us from all sin (1 John 1:7). God will hold nothing against us, but He will bring glory and honor to His name for His amazing grace.

That has bothered me for years. And exactly what will happen no one truly knows. But until that time, what we are told through this parable is that we should do our best in everything we do, even in the smallest of things. The writer of Hebrews says we need to encourage one another onto love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). Today we’d say we need to keep on keeping on and remain faithful until He returns.

We need to live, serve, teach, help, counsel, give, love, forgive, testify, and minister Jesus Christ faithfully to this lost and dying world. And when Jesus, the King of Kings, returns, He’ll say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

As we have seen, God records those things that are done here on earth, and all of us will give an account in the end. And what we have seen is that for those who are faithful there will be a reward.

But there is a second category that Jesus speaks about.

2. For the Negligent, There Will be Loss

Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. For 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.”(Luke 19:20-26 NKJV)

Instead of using the money to further the interest of the nobleman, the servant held it in a handkerchief, that which is used to blow one’s nose into, or what is used to wrap the head of a corpse.

And while he acknowledged it was the nobleman’s, it was done, not out of humility like the first two, but with contempt and with an attitude of accusation. But instead of commending the servant for at least keeping it safe, the nobleman, who is now the king, rebuked him because of his disobedience. If the servant believed these things about the king, then he could have least held it in the bank and earned some interest, instead of wrapping it in an old used handkerchief and burying it.

This servant represents those believers, who are negligent in following the Lord’s instructions, especially the Great Commission, where Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20a NKJV)

And, while this doesn’t disqualify us from eternal life in heaven, it limits our rewards, even to the point of suffering loss. We see this in what the king now took away what he had given to the unfaithful servant and giving it to those who had been faithful.

It is therefore possible to gain heaven but have nothing to show for it. The Apostle Paul brings this truth out as he talked about those building materials we use to build God’s temple within us. First there is the quality stuff, like gold, silver, and precious stones that when God exposes it to the fire of His judgement it lasts. There is also the unworthy stuff, like wood, hay, and straw, that when God’s judgment fire comes, it burns up, leaving nothing behind but a burnt mark on the ground.

“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 3:14-15 NKJV)

When I think about this scenario, I remember a young man’s dream. At the time of this vision he had become a pastor, not long out of seminary. He had seen God’s coming judgment. He was standing in a long line of people. Across from him stood others, and at their feet was a pile of kindling wood. Jesus was walking up the line, putting a torch to each pile. And what this young man heard were cries, some of great joy, while others of great grief.

Across from him stood two people he knew from the past. First was Mrs. Shipton. She used to be in the church where his father preached and always sat in the front row every Sunday. She was over the missionary outreach and was a part of the prayer team.

This young man remembered this one Sunday when he was in high school. He and his friends sat at the back of the church, not paying much attention to the message. When the time came for the altar call, Mrs. Shipton stood up, walked all the way to the back and grabbed him and took him to the front, and there he gave his life to Jesus.

After high school he went to seminary, and there met a senior who shared the same passion for the lost. This senior was especially interested in going to the mission field, so these two would stay up late at night and pray, read God’s word, and look at maps and plan such a mission trip.

The senior was also on the football and basketball teams, and almost every girl wanted to go out with him. He started dating this one young woman whose family was well to do. They got engaged, but when he told this young man the news, he also added that she only agreed to marry him if he gave up the idea of becoming a missionary. Now, while this young man pleaded with his friend not to go through with the wedding, he was told, “Don’t worry, it’ll be okay.”

After graduation, the older boy got married and moved to this wife’s hometown and he never saw or heard of him again.

As the vision continued, Jesus was now standing before Mrs. Shipton, and as Jesus placed the torch on her pile, it burned, revealing some gold and jewels underneath. Mrs. Shipton gave a shout of joy as she bent down and laid it at the feet of Jesus.

Next, Jesus moved to his friend and put the torch to his pile, and it too burned, but all that remained was a blackened circle. He heard his friend cry of agony and saw him put his hands to his face. Why, it can only be surmised that he recognized he had neglected the gift of God’s calling, and he had nothing to give back to Jesus.

Jesus then stood before this young man and put the torch to his pile, but before he could see the pile burn, he woke up.

The moral of our story is let’s stop taking our Christianity, that is our relationship with Jesus for granted, and stop disguising ourselves and our faith in the rags of everyday life. While that type of life seems fine now, when Jesus returns, a blackened circle may be all that remains, with nothing to give back what Jesus has given.

The last category of people that Jesus talks about in this parable are those who wanted to thwart His rule or kingship in their lives.

3. For the Rejecters, There Will be Judgment

Now, most people would rather have Jesus end this parable on a positive note, or at least more upbeat. Instead, he ended it with executions for those who rejected his authority and didn’t want him to reign over them. Look at this last verse.

“But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.” (Luke 19:27 NKJV)

The reading and interpretation are simple. A fatal end awaits everyone who refuses to acknowledge Jesus as their Savior and Lord. For all those who refuse the rule of Jesus Christ in their lives and who insist on doing it their own way, or oppose what the Bible says, will suffer for all eternity.

Jesus said that it will be like a net cast into the sea, and when pulled out, they gathered the good, but tossed the bad.

“This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:49-50 NKJV)

Just as these citizens attempted to stop this nobleman from becoming their king, there are those today who refuse Jesus’s rule over their lives. Please understand that all attempts to derail the coming reign of Jesus Christ will fail. The coming kingdom of God, the coming reign of Jesus Christ, will supplant every kingdom ever built.

Jesus, quoting the prophecy of the coming reign of the Messiah, said, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” (Luke 20:17-18 NKJV)

This is why we need to be one of the faithful Jesus talked about that was busy about Kingdom business instead of their own. This is then why we need to go and share the gospel message to the world

I believe we are living in the last of the last days. The last days actually began at Jesus’s death, but as we see the signs and fulfillment of prophecies of the end days, we know that Jesus’s return cannot be far away. And while we wait, we need to use what Jesus gave us, which is the glorious gospel message of His salvation.

  • What is our attitude toward this gift? Is our attitude like the servants who invested it, or like the servant who wrapped it in a Kleenex and hid it from view?
  • Are we living boldly and confidently as servants of the Most High God, King of the Universe, or are we living more like some secret undercover agent?
  • Are we just kind of surviving in our relationship with Jesus Christ? Or are we living as loyal servants willing to risk it all for our Master and Savior.

Lessons to be Learned

  • We should to be willing to risk it all in obedient faith
  • We should have something to offer the Lord when He returns from what He has left for us.
  • We shouldn’t doubt His return or His judgment to come.
  • We should always be involved in Kingdom causes while joyfully expecting His reward.

Again, let me repeat the principal point of this parable.

Fulfilling Jesus’s Call Determines Our Destiny

There will be judgment for those who reject Him, loss for those who are negligent with His message, and rewards for those who are faithful to the calling.

So, as a helpful hint, let’s make God’s kingdom business our own, and use what He graciously has given, and that is the gospel message of Jesus Christ. In the end, we will not be disappointed, both on this side of heaven and in heaven itself.

Let me end with this thought. God is not impressed with our abilities and capabilities, nor with our gifts and giftedness. He gave them to us. What He is looking for is our givenness. Are we wholly given over to Him and are we giving everything over to Him.

And while God is not impressed by us, He still called us. And while He not only called us, He will also keep us. And so, God is not only the caller, but He also is the keeper as well. And what God is looking for is for us to look for Him and to Him.

Therefore, let’s not let anything replace God’s drawing us to Himself.  The Bible tells us that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).  Therefore, need to pay attention and follow, because there is a truth that God can and will withdraw His hand if we don’t.

He will save us, but He wants to trust us with so much more. You see, God doesn’t just want us to make it in, He wants to reward us with so much more, not only here on earth, but in heaven once this life is over.

Of Jesus the Bible says that He has come not only to give us life, but to give us abundant life. And it says that He desires to give us above and beyond, that is, immeasurably more than what we can ask or think, in and through His power that resides and works within us.

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