13 June 2012Luke 19:11-27
"I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away." (v. 26)
It was usual in Roman times for a king to travel to Rome to be
appointed. People hearing this parable would have been familiar
with Archelaus travelling to Rome for that very reason after Herod
the Great died. Jesus tells this parable in that context but uses
it to teach about God's kingdom. Jesus, represented by the king in
the parable, was teaching that the fullness of his kingdom would
not be immediate: instead that he needed to leave but would
eventually return. In the parable the king's servants are
responsible for his kingdom while he is not there. Ten servants
each receive a mina, approximately three months wages, and are
given the task to put that money to work. The king here trusts his
servants, just as God trusts people to work for God until God's
return. The king was rejected, just as Jesus would be by the
people: nevertheless he returned as king, just as Jesus will one
day return in glory.
The test the servants were given is examined by the king on his return and with it comes judgement. The reward for the servants who worked hard was more responsibility. Living a life of faith is not a passive activity. It is about working for God, serving with all that has given to us. The parable makes it clear that God will resource us, it is what we do with those resources that matter. God's work is about growth and expansion, not about holding onto faith so that it is just for ourselves and we do nothing with it. The third servant in the parable is judged for doing just that; he was held back by fear and misunderstanding. The parable makes it clear that those who use what they have been given for the good of the God's kingdom will receive more so that they continue in this work. But those who do not work for the growth of the kingdom will not be rewarded.
What 'resources' has God given you to work for the kingdom?
The servants increased the money they were given - this may have been due to hard work, enterprise and risk taking. What risks do you think the Church needs to take in its work?