I love the parable in Luke 19:11-27. It’s so fitting for life today. I’ll give you a minute to go ahead and read it…
*elevator music plays in the background*
Ah! Okay, so God is the king in this parable. The disgruntled servants represent humanity. People don’t naturally choose to follow the Lord, for any one of many reasons:
- There is no God
- God’s too strict; he’s got too many rules and regulations
- Following God is boring; the bible is boring
- I don’t have time to devote to him
God blesses everyone with talents. Some may not easily recognize their God-given gifts, but we all have something we are born with. Sports superstars are blessed with athleticism; law enforcement officers are blessed with protective instincts; extraordinary musicians are blessed with the musical ear.
Even ordinary people are blessed with gifts. There’s that one friend who is always upbeat, no matter the situation, blessed with the gift of encouragement. There’s the neighborhood comedian who’s always good for a laugh, blessed with the gift of high spirits. There’s the congregation grandmother, who always cooks a meal for someone in need without ever being asked to do so—how does she always seem to know—blessed with the gift of hospitality. We all are born with a gift.
In the parable, the lord charged his servants with the task of putting their individual talents (or minas) to work so that, upon his return, his investment would yield increase. Like the servants in this parable, we are charged with the task of putting our talents to work for the Lord; we are expected to advance his kingdom.
Colossians 3:23-24 says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
The first faithful servant, in the parable, increased his lord’s mina investment tenfold. Likewise, the second faithful servant increased his mina fivefold. I liken these two servants to a modern-day CHH artist—that’s Christian Hip Hop for you squares—with a ministry of 10,000 following believers, and a small-town preacher with a thriving congregation of 200 faithful members. Both the artist and the preacher began as God haters. But…they submitted to the Lord, discovered and accepted their given talents, and put them to work to further the kingdom of God. Both work hard, constantly mindful of God.
But the parable also displays an example in the lazy servant. This unfaithful accepted his talent and knew the character of his lord. Yet he willfully chose to do absolutely nothing with the talent. Even more disturbing, was his logic behind his loathsome behavior. He simply figured there was no point in even trying to put the talent to work!
This is where Colossians 3:25 turns a corner and says, “But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.”
In our modern society, particularly in the entertainment industry, many people recognize their God-given talents, but blatantly choose to use them in ways contradictory to God’s intended purposes. Then, there are those who recognize their talents, but squander them by doing nothing at all. In the parable, the two faithful servants were rewarded double their efforts, while the lazy servant was stripped of the little he was originally given.
Where do you fall within this parable? When you look at your life today, can you see the hand of God blessing your faithful efforts? I’m not talking about material possessions. Are you reaching people in your day-to-day living? Can you openly live the Christian life in public, and see God’s favor manifest in your walk? Or…does it seem as if even the little bit you have is in danger of being stripped away? Does it feel like no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to catch a break? Can you even acknowledge God?
What are your talents, my friend? If you recognize them, are you using them to advance God’s kingdom? Many people read this famous parable and erroneously think its core message is about money.
“If God gives you $10, go out and turn it into $100, in the name of Jesus. Then watch him bless you with more. Wooo!”
No. This parable is about using the talent God has given you to go out and spread his kingdom, in whatever you do. If you find yourself struggling through a valley, let me encourage you to first seek the Lord. Through prayer, ask him to reveal your God-given talents. Then put those talents to use, in a way that will honor him. Only he can guide you through it. And his timing is always perfect, so don’t be discouraged.
Remember, in the parable , none of the servants liked the lord to begin with. But, the faithful submitted, remained true and were richly blessed later. Because of their integrity, their minas were multiplied. This isn’t just a story, friend. This is life.