The Gospel According to Luke: Part 53 :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

An Exposition

Luke 19:11-27: “Hard Truths About Handling the King’s Affairs”

“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. He said therefore, ‘A certain nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back.’ But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’

“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. And the first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten times minas more. And he said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, because you have been faithful in a little thing, be in authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, ‘Your mina, Master, has made five minas. And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’

“And another came and 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.’ 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?’

“And he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas. And they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas already.’ 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 will be taken away. But these enemies of mine who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence’” (Luke 19:11-27, NASB).

When I was a new believer, back when Elvis was alive and the curse of disco had not yet descended upon the land, I was introduced to the works of one Jack Chick, of cartoon tract fame, and a book he had compiled at the start of his ministry. It was based on the teachings of the 19th century evangelist Charles Finney and what he believed made up the essence of revival and renewal towards the things of God and His direction for one’s life.

Mr. Chick had drawn the pictures in the book, and I recall one specific illustration he included about what NOT to do when someone gives their life to Jesus Christ. It was a drawing of a man in a recliner, thinking to himself, “Now that I’s saved, I’ll relax, sing hymns, and wait for the LORD.” This nonchalant attitude is in sharp contrast to the command of Jesus to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8), whereby we are given the responsibility as well as the honor of telling those with whom we come into contact about the good news of salvation from sin by the work of Jesus Christ.

We are all to be evangelists and ministers in this regard, and to be aware that we will all have to face the Lord Jesus Christ and give an account of what we did, as well as what we should have done while we looked for the Blessed Hope of His return for us as well as the inevitable Second Coming – when He sets foot in Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives to rightfully claim the throne of David, and rule and reign for all time (Psalm 2:1-12; Zechariah 12:9-10; John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 3:1-15, 15:51-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-14; Revelation 3:10, 19:11-21, 20:11-15).

When I first read the passages of Scripture that we are about to examine, at first glance they appear to be a sharp lesson on the importance of being good stewards and wisely handling money. That is certainly one nugget of gold within this parable, but a treasure of spiritual benefits awaits discovery when we take our time and allow the Spirit of God to show us the deeper meaning and application. This should convict us in the way we look at God’s Word. We should never rush or merely glance at a few passages of Scripture and think that will be enough to earn a pat on the back from our Creator and Savior that day.

When Jesus begins to tell the story, we are introduced to a nobleman who is to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return to his place of residence afterward to establish his rule. While gone, he entrusts his servants to take care of a specific area of business, and he has trust in the integrity and obedience of these slaves to carry out his bidding. However, while the nobleman is away, the citizens under his present rule rebel publicly against his authority. They see his absence as an excuse to put power into their own hands and be free from what they saw as oppression. Jesus has, in the past, presented the fact that He is going to return to this world one day to establish His absolute control over all peoples and nations.

Jesus is also saying through this story that He has to go away for a time in order to receive that which is rightfully His when He will fulfill His mission of redeeming us from our sins in order that we might be His subjects and servants. Because of this, we have been given the honor, privilege, and responsibility to be a part of His perfect Kingdom, free from the curse of sin, death, and the temptations of the devil, who will be cast into the Lake of Fire along with all who have rejected Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior, and King. While He is away, we are to be His obedient servants, chosen in Him to do His will.

However, not everyone is willing to do as He requests, and their failure to obey Him will affect their relationship with Him, and not for the better. The servants in the story are given units of currency and are expected to know what to do with them. This tells me that they have been instructed sometime in the past on how to transact business, demonstrate wisdom and maturity in what procedures to take in order to ensure that the investment in which they were trusted to handle will produce benefits and the expected results for the Master’s household. This also shows me that they expect no personal reward but are willing to do that which will please the Master when he comes back. It also shows the responsibility to the Master for giving an account of their labors and time.

Now, you are probably ahead of me in figuring out how all of this applies to us as His followers today. I am going to list some points, and I can be sure that we are in some form of agreement on the following truths:

  • The minas in the parable can represent financial responsibility, but a better fit would be to see them as the specific spiritual gifts and talents that the LORD has graciously given us in order to accomplish the primary business of presenting the gospel to those that are lost in sin.
  • The minas were not given to the servants to spend on themselves, but to advance the fortune of the Master and to solidify his right and privilege to rule over that which is His. Jesus gives us gifts, talents, and duties not to edify or build ourselves, but to be used for His glory, honor, and purpose. The result is what pleases the Master and not ourselves.
  • Each servant is given what he can handle. This shows that not all of us have the maturity or skill to do what others are more capable of doing in terms of service to the Master. We are not to envy or covet any gift or talent that the LORD did not specifically give us (1 Corinthians 12). New servants, that is, new followers of Jesus Christ, should not be given any responsibility except to learn from the more experienced servants about what may be required of them later. As the new servant gets familiar with duties, routines, and are given small jobs to do, they mature and develop more skills in their walk with the LORD; and the day will come when the Master is satisfied with their progress and growth, and expects them to teach the next generation (1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 11:25).
  • We need to keep in mind that as servants with specific responsibilities, we will be held accountable before the Master as to what we did with what He gave and expected from us (2 Corinthians 5:10). There is no excuse whatsoever to slack off or ignore our duty to Him. The servant that buried the mina gave nothing but a flimsy excuse that made no real sense, and as a consequence lost out on rewards, future responsibilities, and a relationship with the Master that would be based on distrust and shame from that time on. There is no record of a second chance or restitution. The servant was not thrown out or eliminated but was now left with the permanent sorrow and regret of what could have been a time of reward and trust.

The servants who did their duty were rewarded with more responsibility due to the fact that they had been focused on the Master’s will, exercised their talents and gifts for His service, paid attention to what they had to do, and did so without expecting anything but the satisfaction of doing his bidding. Jesus had told His disciples about the duties of a servant and what to expect (Luke 17:7-10), and this parable tended to enforce what He had previously taught. The citizens who rebelled against the authority of the Master and wanted nothing to do with him were granted their request. How? They were all captured and slain before the ruler. Dead people do not cause trouble, and the nobleman ruled his kingdom without further incident.

All rebellion against the Lord Jesus will be dealt with at the end of history when the Great White Throne judgment takes place, and the guilty will face eternal torment in the Lake of Fire where they can gripe, yell, hate, shake their fists, and curse all they wish, but no one will listen or care (Daniel 12:2; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-31; John 5:28-29; Revelation 20:11-15).

This parable illustrates the essential truth of what it means to follow Him, which is to die to self and what you believe is important in order to give all to Him (Matthew 16:25; Luke 14:26, 33; John 14:15). This also shows that we cannot hide anything from God or think that He will not bring up any words or deeds that He will overlook or excuse (Matt.10:26; Mark 4:22; Romans 2:1-12, 14:12; 2 Samuel 12:1-15).

Going back to Mr. Chick’s illustration of the lazy man sitting back waiting for the LORD’S return, we are not to have this sort of attitude and lack of care or concern for the ones around us who are heading for hell, but to get up and get to work for the King until the trumpet does sound and we are taken out of this world into the next. Stay active and do that which He expects of you. The minas He gave you need to be in use for His glory and grace, and not to be taking up room in your pockets. Now, go serve your King.