The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said. And because he was nearing Jerusalem, he told them a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away. He said, “A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return. Before he left, he called together ten of his servants and divided among them ten pounds of silver, saying, ‘Invest this for me while I am gone.’ But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We do not want him to be our king.’ “After he was crowned king, he returned and called in the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to find out what their profits were. The first servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made ten times the original amount!’ “‘Well done!’ the king exclaimed. ‘You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.’ “The next servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made five times the original amount.’ “‘Well done!’ the king said. ‘You will be governor over five cities.’ “But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, ‘Master, I hid your money and kept it safe. I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn’t yours and harvesting crops you didn’t plant.’ “‘You wicked servant!’ the king roared. ‘Your own words condemn you. If you knew that I’m a hard man who takes what isn’t mine and harvests crops I didn’t plant, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ “Then, turning to the others standing nearby, the king ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ “‘But, master,’ they said, ‘he already has ten pounds!’ “‘Yes,’ the king replied, ‘and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. And as for these enemies of mine who didn’t want me to be their king—bring them in and execute them right here in front of me.’” Luke 19:11-27 (NLT)
One of the keys to undestanding Scripture is to be silent. As we listen, Luke tells us right away that the reason for this parable is to help us put aside our ideas about timetables for the Kingdom of God…and just know that God has a timetable that will be met.
There are several important key issues covered in this parable:
1. There is judgment – the nobleman intended to come back and settle all accounts…and this applies to Jesus’ return to judge everyone.
2. We have been given a great gift (the Gospel “deposit”), the Good News of salvation!
3. We are commissioned to be stewards – we have a responsibility to share that Good News of God’s loving offer of salvation.
4. Enemies of the Gospel will receive a severe punishment.
This parable is different from the Parable of Talents, where each servant is given differing gifts, according to ability. Here the “gifts” are divided evenly, displaying how each believer is to be steward of the same gift, the salvation of God.
The accounting (in the time of judgment) will not be a matter of how much “profit” we brought in with that gift, but rather on our faithfulness to the charge to engage our world and its Godless culture with the truth of the Gospel.
In thinking about this we should reject the attitude and thinking of the third servant in the parable called to account for his stewardship; he offered an excuse:
I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with
The phrase hard man to deal with, literally is translated bitter taste. It speaks volumes about why people reject serving Christ. In our self-centered, independence, we consider it an unacceptable bitter pill to swallow that anyone should be Lord over us.
And this is why there is an accounting, a judgment day; some people will joyfully serve Christ for the love of someone who would die in our place. Some will not.
Jesus is truly an acquired taste; only after accepting His Lordship over your life do you discover that it isn’t bitter at all having Him as king…it’s joy unspeakable and full of glory!
Share the Gospel today? Sweet!