2014-09-19 - The Parable of Minas
With the mina came a rule, and with that rule came three responses. The Rule was simply "Do business until I come." Do Business comes from the Greek pragmateuomai, where we get pragmatic, that is to say practical. It means more than "stay here and wait for me;" it means "take care of business until I come back." Continue doing what I have done. It is not just "hold the fort," but "storm the castle" and "seize the day". We are to be practical and pragmatic in the way we manage his resources until he comes back. "What exactly is his business?" you may ask. Luke 19:10 tells us he came to seek and to save. His business wasn't predicting his return. He said only the father knew. His business was preparing for his return. We are to prepare hearts for his return, using the mina he has given us.
With the Master, his mina, and his rule came varying responses from those around him. Three types of people, with very different response to the Master and the Minas, are revealed.
The Froward Subject
As we view the responses, let me teach you a new word - froward - which means "habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition". That describes the people in verse fourteen pretty well. This is the response of The Froward Subject - "He's not my master." Those who did not want him to be king, cry out, saying, "We don't want Jesus telling us how to live. We'll live how we want. We don't want or need God. We can do it all on our own." Reread verse twenty-seven; this is the final judgment - the second death (see also 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16). It's all bad, if we're just a subject so we want to be a servant.
The Faithful Steward
In verses sixteen to nineteen, we see the response of The Faithful Steward: "I'll do my best to use it like he would." This is the obedient servant - those who serve him gladly. "I'll do what you want me to do." They weren't promised a reward, but invested because they were faithful to their master and wanted to please him. God wants us to devote all we have to him. There were two young boys talking about their unending devotion to one another. The first boy said "Hey, John, if you had a million dollars would you give me half?" "Bill, you know I would. You're my best mate in the world." "What about if you had a thousand dollars?" Of course I would." "Well, what if you had a thousand marbles?" "Yep, I'd give you half my marbles." "What about if you had two marbles?" (Pause) "That's not fair! You know I've got two marbles."
God wants our devotion in all things even the little things - money, time, and abilities. In 2 Corinthians 5:10, all servants appear before the Judgment Seat so each may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body whether good or bad.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 - The fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
The level of faithfulness determined the level of reward.
The Foolish Servant
Lastly in verses twenty to twenty-three, we see the response of The Foolish Servant: "I don't want to do the wrong thing, so I'll just sit on it." These people are going thru the motions. They are spectators. They are the ones who refuse to use what they have been given. They are "saved by the skin of your teeth people;" they are fire insurance policy holders. They took the mina, but refused to do business. They took salvation, but never shared it. We all know people who say they are Christians, but live in disobedience, hiding what has been given to them. They are living wasted, useless lives. Are you one of those people?
Herbert Lockyer wrote, "Our churches are full of those guilty of this sin. They seem to have no desire to serve the Savior." David Dykes commented, "The unfaithful servant is a picture of a Christian who is headed for Heaven, but because of fear, or a faulty understanding of God, they never really get involved in doing business for God. When asked to sing in the choir, or teach children, or go on a mission trip, their response is usually, 'I'm afraid I wouldn't be very good at doing that.' They are the spectator Christians. And when they stand before the Lord, they expect He'll say, 'That's okay, I know you were too timid and fearful to really do business for me - don't worry about it.' No, instead Jesus will say, 'You are a wicked servant! Look at all the time I gave you; look at the truth that was available to you; look at all the opportunities you had! Wasted!'" William Barclay, a New Testament scholar, wrote, "There is no such thing as standing still in the Christian life. We either get more or lose what we have. We either advance to greater heights or slip back." (William Barcay's Daily Study Bible) If you think you are standing still you aren't! You are like a person going up the river in a boat. You may stop to rest, but as you do, the river begins to carry you back to where you started.
In closing, let me simply say how we use what God gives us makes all the difference. According to Ripley's - a one pound bar of iron is worth about $5. The same pound as horseshoes is worth about $50. As for needles, it would be worth about $50. As for springs in fine Swiss watches, they are worth $5000. The material isn't as important, as how it is developed. What talents we have is not as important our willingness. The best abilities are availability and dependability.
We all have the same job - to live for Christ. We must invest the investment that Jesus has made in us. We are living today, between verse fourteen and fifteen, when our Master is absent. How will you respond to Jesus? How will Jesus respond to you? When he returns as king, what will he say to you? Will his words be of reward, rebuke or retribution?
All scripture references are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.