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The Parable of The Ten Minas Made Simple

(Luke 19:11-27)

We picked it up at Luke 19:11 to start:

11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.

The reason why Jesus was sharing this parable was to tell them that, “No, there’s going to be a delay. There’s going to be some time between now and when the end comes.” But people have trouble understanding the parables and that’s the reason for this book.

The scripture continues on:

 12 Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’ 

We also read of a similar parable, the talents, where the master gave to his servants according to their ability. Not everyone has the same ability. So we can see that people got certain amounts, one person got five talents, one person got two and one person was given one.

But in the parable we just considered, each of these people got ten minas. We will continue to read the passage in order to find out what happened.

13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’

You wouldn’t give ten minas to a person who has no aptitude for business. You wouldn’t give your money to someone who you didn’t believe could do business. For instance, if all you’ve ever known is living on pensions and welfare and you’ve never worked a day in your life, it would be foolish for someone to have you run their organization or their employees and be in a position of power running people, requiring you to work 60 hours a week.

There are reasons why people don’t work. I’m not condemning a person who doesn’t work. I’m just using this as an illustration to say that when this noble man gave these people ten minas and said, “Do business until I come,” in verse 13, it means that he trusted them and believed that they could do business.

15 “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.

They were actually doing something with the money. They were trading. We could assume that it’s like the stock market. But it’s probably like buying and trading the produce and making a business with the capital. I heard of charities and Christian foundations that give microfinance loans, small loans of $10 or $100 to people in the East and in other poor countries. This would give them some money to start a small business for themselves. They’d buy chickens, pigs or any produce to sell in the market. Within a year, they’d pay back their loan with interest. But they would just leave the $100 there. When they pay back their loan, the people of the microfinance would lend it to someone else. By this way, you bring people out of poverty. These people are sort of like given ten minas here. It’s the same sort of thing.

As Christians we are given the righteousness of Christ. We are given salvation and peace. We’ve all been given spiritual gifts and talents that God wants us to use.

 16 Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ 19 Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’ 

Now, that’s an amazing thing! I’m not sure how much ten minas are worth. I haven’t looked that up. Here is the master who is representing Jesus Christ Himself, who’s gone off to a far country. He’s saying, “If you’re faithful with what I give you, I’m going to give you more authority.”

For instance, if every Christian in the world was given authority over ten cities, there wouldn’t be enough cities for Christians to rule. I want to make that point. Parables are parables; they can’t be stretched to mean something that they don’t mean. Parables are here for a simple reason – to explain a simple point. I understand that this isn’t literal but I just want you to bear in mind this fact that there are many Christians. I’ve mentioned earlier in the book about a survey that was done in the United States. It said that only 10% of Christians knew what their spiritual gifts were.

“Spiritual gifts” are the gifts that God has enabled the Christian with, through the Holy Spirit; these are things that the Christian is very competent and naturally talented at, through the grace of Jesus Christ. Some people have got the gift of hospitality. They are the ones who will notice someone new in the church and go over to befriend them and make them feel welcome. Often a person like that in a church will make someone else come back. A person with the gift of hospitality will invite that new person home for lunch at their house. They just can’t stand the thought that someone could come to church and be lonely and not know anyone. These gifted people should be mobilized as a welcoming team so no one comes into a church and doesn’t feel welcome.

Going back to what I mentioned - only 10% of Christians knew what their spiritual gifts were. Out of this number, only 10% walk in their gifts. Jesus is very aware that we’ve got spiritual gifts. But we see in that survey that only 1% of Christians in America are walking in their spiritual gifts. If you don’t know your spiritual gifts, you should research what they are and start to practice them. Jesus has given them to us. You have been given ten minas already.

Jesus is a rewarder of those who work faithfully for Him. There is a system with Jesus: work and reward. We can’t work our way to salvation and nothing we can do can make Jesus love us more. But Jesus is a smart and astute man. He knows how to reward the hard workers and the people with a heart after Him. It certainly makes sense. You don’t have to be God to understand that if you’re going to put someone in control of something pretty big, he should be someone competent. A person has to have a good resume and past experience in order to be given a job. I don’t think any person fresh out of school gets a job being a CEO of a major corporation. Even the multi-millionaire owner of the business won’t promote his son to be CEO over his company until he’s been to business school and had plenty of experience.

Jesus was saying here that if He has given us gifts, abilities and talents, He wanted to see us practice those gifts in His kingdom before He gives us authority over something else.

There’s also a comforting thought here when you have been faithful over little. In verse 17, He says: ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’

It’s good to see that you can be faithful over very little and still be rewarded abundantly by Jesus Christ. I don’t want this message to be negative; it’s a message to inspire.

It continues in verse 20:

20 “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ 
24 “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ 25 (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) 26 ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’”

I don’t believe that a born again Christian can go to hell. For instance, if you’ve been given talents and spiritual gifts by God and you don’t use them to prosper the kingdom; I don’t believe that you’re going to be cast into hell. This one wasn’t cast into hell but his mina was taken from him.

Everyone in the West has an idea of who Jesus Christ is. You can’t live in this society without knowing who God is. Romans 1 says that everyone is without excuse that there is a God. Even people in the East know that there’s a God. Most people in countries that aren’t reached by Christianity have already got their form of religion. They’ve already got their Gods. Everyone’s aware of a God.

I believe that the one who didn’t do anything with the mina could be an image of a person who does not know Christ. It’s not up to us to judge those people. It’s up to us to give them an example of the prosperous Christian life - the life where you’re living in abundance, the life where you have peace, joy and security, a life that has meaning. You get out of bed every morning and you go through each week because you have purpose and a reason to live. You’re trading on the stock market of God. You’re trading life and bringing glory to God’s name.

If there’s anything that you can take from this teaching - know that you have been given gifts. And if you search out your gifts you can walk in them. Know also that all the little work that you do is going to be highly rewarded by God.

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