FAITHFULNESS IN SPIRITUAL STEWARDSHIP WHILE THE KING IS AWAY WILL BE REWARDED WHEN THE KING RETURNS
This is not a story primarily about stewardship of money. It is not the same story that Christ told on another occasion about investing our spiritual talents wisely. What Christ has entrusted to His servants here (the one pound that He gave every professing disciple) is everything that pertains to multiplying disciples in the advance of His kingdom. That would include the Word of God, the message of the Gospel, the dynamic power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, etc. We need to make sure that during this time of the delay of the kingdom while Christ is in heaven that we are investing our lives to further His Kingdom agenda. The disciples needed this word of exhortation and accountability since they mistakenly thought that they were reaching the finish line of their life of sacrifice when they got to Jerusalem. They were ready for the kingdom of God to transform their world. They were ready to get their reward. Jesus said, “Not so fast. Slow your roll.” Apparently, there is much work to be done before the Second Coming and the consummation of the kingdom.
Donald Miller: Jesus’ disciples had left home and employment, and had followed him through the months with increasing hope. Now that they were nearing Jerusalem, their hopes were fanned into flame. They thought that the Kingdom “was to appear immediately” (vs. 11), and that they would share in the glory of him who brought it (9:46, 49, 54; 18:28). Jesus had to show them that there would be a long period of waiting before the Kingdom came in all its glory. In the meantime, they were to serve responsibly in the midst of a hostile environment. Their final share in the Kingdom would depend on their faithfulness during the time of waiting.
(:11) PROLOGUE – CORRECTING KINGDOM MISCONCEPTIONS
“And while they were listening to these things, He went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.”
Players in the parable:
Nobleman = Jesus Christ, the King
Servants = Disciples entrusted with stewardship of the Kingdom while Jesus is away;
two categories of servants:
– Genuine disciples
– False disciples
Citizens = Jews who reject the reign of Jesus
Deffinbaugh: Jesus had just told Zacchaeus that “salvation had come to his house” (v. 9). Some listened and believed that this meant that salvation had also come to the nation in the form of the kingdom of God. Jesus and His disciples were pressing on, drawing ever nearer to Jerusalem, the hub of Israel, the focal point of biblical prophecy. The disciples, at least, regarded Jesus as the Messiah, albeit a very different one than that which was to be. As the distance between Jesus, the crowds who followed, and Jerusalem shrunk, the expectation exponentially multiplied. They thought of the kingdom as but a few miles and a few hours away. They believed the kingdom of God was imminent. That was the problem, it would seem. That is the very reason Luke gives us for Jesus telling the parable which follows. Somehow, this parable is to correct, or at least to clarify, the situation.
I. (:12-14) KINGDOM RESPONSIBILITY
“He said therefore,”
A. (:12) Parameters of the Kingdom Established
1. The King’s Identity
“A certain nobleman” – Jesus is the rightful King
2. The Departure of the King
Speaks to the Ascension back to heaven
3. The Delay in the King’s Return
“to a distant country” – intimates that this would be a long delay and period of waiting; don’t expect the king back immediately; Jesus has returned to His Heavenly Father for an undetermined period of time
4. The Certainty of the Kingdom
“to receive a kingdom for himself” – certainty of the establishment on earth of the future Messianic kingdom as prophesied in the OT
5. The Return of the King
“and then return” – we should be looking for the return of the King and living in light of that reality; but the timing of the return is undetermined
B. (:13) Stewardship of the Kingdom Commanded
“And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas, and said to them,
‘Do business with this until I come back.’”
Gave each of them one mina so that they each got the same thing; this was not an insignificant amount; it was enough to invest and do business with
MacArthur: This is about living your Christian life as a trust, taking the truth, the power of the Spirit, spiritual opportunity, spiritual gifts, spiritual privileges, everything the Lord puts in your life and maximizing it for His honor and His glory.
Deffinbaugh: He gave each of the ten slaves one mina. From the marginal note found in the NASB at verse 13, we can learn that this was equivalent to nearly 100 days’ wages. A talent, on the other hand (as mentioned in Matthew 25:15ff.), was worth about 50 times as much (cf. marginal note in NASB at Matthew 25:15). His command was specific. The slaves were all to “do business” (Luke 19:13, NASB) with the money, or, as the NIV puts it, to “put the money to work” until the master returned. The master expected to get back more than he put into the hands of his slaves. Money, as a friend of mine put it, has a time-value. Money should always increase over time, since it can always be loaned out at interest, or at least put in the bank, where it will be loaned out. The master thus expected to get back more than he left in the care of each slave.
C. (:14) Resistance to the King Intensified
“But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying,
We do not want this man to reign over us.’”
Not surprising that the Jews rebel against Jesus and resist His reign over them
II. (:15-23) KINGDOM ACCOUNTABILITY
A. (:15) Final Reporting
“And it came about that when he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him in order that he might know what business they had done.”
Geldenhuys: The Jews’ hate and rejection of the Saviour, however, did not affect His reinstallation in power and glory or His reception of the divine kingship. By His ascension He has already been exalted to the right hand of the majesty on high, and at the final Consummation He will return in full glory. Then the faithful will have to render an account of the execution of their vocation as labourers in His vineyard, preachers (by word and act) of the Gospel message, extenders of his kingdom on earth.
B. (:16-25) Faithfulness Rewarded / Unfaithfulness Rejected
1. (:16-17) Tremendous Multiplication = 10X
a. (:16) Report
“And the first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’”
b. (:17) Reward
“And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, be in authority over ten cities.’”
Morris: The reward is not rest but the opportunity for wider service.
2. (:18-19) Good Multiplication = 5X
a. (:18) Report
“And the second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.’”
b. (:19) Reward
“And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’”
3. (:20-25) Busted – Leading to Subtraction
a. (:20-21) Report
“And another came, saying, ‘Master, behold your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’”
MacArthur: Then we go from the faithful to the false. Verse 20, “And another came.” Another? I just have to say a word about that. The Greek word ho heteros, “heterogeneous,” means different, heterodox, something not orthodox, different. Here comes a different kind of person. Here comes a different kind of slave. . .
This man has no love for the nobleman. He has no affection for the nobleman. He has no interest in his cause. He has no interest in his honor or respect. He doesn’t care what he thinks of him either. He’s not trying to prove anything. He basically has no relationship with the nobleman and frankly doesn’t care. But he’s been putting on a show. He’s been putting on a show. Maybe he liked the association. Maybe he thought it was a way to get rich. Maybe he thought…Maybe he’s Judas, huh? Thinking that if I hang around this guy, maybe I’ll get rich, and one day realizing that it’s not going the way he wants so he sells Jesus. He never wanted a relationship with Him in the first place. This is the false follower. He takes no responsibility for what he’s done. He blames the nobleman, now the king. No true believer would act like this. This isn’t a true believer. I read some commentators who said, “We’re not too sure about this guy whether he’s a believer or not.” I’m sure. What do you need? No true believer calls the Lord a liar and a thief and an exploiter. No true believer indicts the Lord. No true believer declares his lack of love, lack of trust and lack of interest in the things that the Lord is concerned with. No true believer accuses the Lord of lacking justice and fairness and using people for illegitimate selfish gain. He has an unfaithful heart. He has no love for the king, he has no interest in the king. He has no desire to honor the king at all. And the king knows it.
J. Ligon Duncan: Now Jesus is doing something very interesting there because aren’t there a lot of us who are tempted to look at God and say, “God, You’re hard. You’ve given me a hard life. You’ve put me in a tough place. You haven’t rewarded me very well. I haven’t gotten what I deserve because You’re hard.” And you see, Jesus is wanting every true disciple to look at that and say, “That is ridiculous. He is disproportionately generous in the way that He rewards and He is not hard and severe, because if He were, we’d all be in trouble.” And Jesus is holding up that disproportionate reward and He’s saying this — “You may go through this life and experience rejection and disappointment and betrayal, but there is a reward that you cannot even comprehend and it’s coming for you and that reward then makes all the difference how you live now because it allows you not to be all turned in on yourself about what you haven’t gotten here because you know that the Lord is going to take care of you, and it allows you to turn out and instead of being all tied up about what you haven’t been given, you just give. And instead of being all tied up about how you’ve been disappointed, you serve.”
b. (:22-23) Rebuke
“He said to him, ‘By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow? Then why did you not put the money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’”
Anyabwile: God expects us to use what he give us to make more for his kingdom. God expects us to use our theology to motivate our actions. We should act on what we know about God. There’s no acceptable excuse for not acting on the truth we know about God. That very truth will condemn us. It’s not that we are responsible for the truths we don’t know. It’s what we do with what we do know.
c. (:24) Debiting / Rejecting
“And he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him,
and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’”
d. (:25) Pushback Regarding Fairness
“And they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas already.’”
Steven Cole: The question is, does this unfaithful servant represent a true believer who loses his rewards, who is saved, yet so as through fire (1 Cor. 3:15)? Or, is he a person who professes to know God, but by his deeds he denies him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed (Titus 1:16)?
It seems to me that this third servant does not know the king. He wrongly thinks of him as a harsh man, when in reality he is very generous to the faithful slaves. Darrel Bock explains, “The third servant represents people who are related to the king in that they are associated with the community and have responsibility in it. Nevertheless their attitude shows that they do not see God as gracious and that they have not really trusted him…. Such people are left with nothing at the judgment; they are sent to outer darkness, because they never really trusted or knew God” (Luke [Baker], 2:1542). J. C. Ryle observes, “Hard thoughts of God are a common mark of all unconverted people. They first misrepresent Him, and then try to excuse themselves for not loving and serving Him” (Expository Thoughts on the Gospels [Baker], Luke 11-24, p. 305).
This third servant, then, represents those in the church who know the gospel and should believe it. But they are indifferent and unconcerned about the Master’s purpose and kingdom. As a result, they are not using the opportunities He has given them to further His kingdom. They are living for themselves and making up excuses as to why they are not serving the King.
III. (:26-27) KINGDOM LESSONS
A. (:26) Faithfulness Will Be Rewarded / Unfaithfulness Rejected
“I tell you, that to everyone who has shall more be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”
B. (:27) Final Condemnation for Rejecting the King
“But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”