Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
Luke 19:11-27 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return. He summoned ten of his slaves, and gave them ten pounds, and said to them, ‘Do business with these until I come back.’ But the citizens of his country hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to rule over us.’ When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Lord, your pound has made ten more pounds.’ He said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small thing, take charge of ten cities.’ Then the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has made five pounds.’ He said to him, ‘And you, rule over five cities.’ Then the other came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, for I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I returned, I could have collected it with interest.’ He said to the bystanders, ‘Take the pound from him and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ (And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’) ‘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. But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.’”
I am guilty of “mashing” up my gospel stories sometimes and this one is one of the ones I do it to. Matthew’s Parable of the Talents is much more familiar—a man goes on a journey but before he gives three slaves three gifts of money, one gets 5 talents, one 2 and one 1. The first two slaves double their money but the third who buries his has only the one to give back to the master. Everyone gets praise except the third who gets the money taken away and is tossed into “outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
But Luke’s parable is different—the nobleman is going to get a kingdom for himself. He gives 10 slaves all the same amount of money, 10 pounds and specifically tells them to “Do business with these until I come back.” The citizens where they all live do not want the nobleman to rule them, but he gets the kingdom and becomes king. Then we hear about 3 of the 10 slaves. The first slave made 10 more pounds and is given charge of 10 cities. The second 5 more pounds and 5 cities. The third wrapped the money in a cloth and did nothing with it. The third slave’s money was taken away from him and given to the first slave. But we are not told what happens to the third slave. However, those who didn’t want the nobleman to be king were brought and slaughtered before him.
In Luke’s parable, the third slave was unwilling to risk. But It is those unwilling to be ruled by the nobleman who were killed. In Matthew’s parable, the moral of the story is that you must risk, to be a good steward. In Luke’s, the moral is a little different. Jesus as the nobleman hear the cries of the citizens like he will soon here the cries of “Crucify him” in Jerusalem. The slaves who made money still had to risk, just as Jesus’ followers, those who choose Jesus as their king, must risk also.
Now that I am separating these stories in my mind, it may take some more time to think on it!
God, your word is complex, and we are always needing help with its interpretation. Give us the discernment to see your message and discern your will for us. Give us the courage to live risky lives in your service. Amen.
Go with God!