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Personal: Parable of the Ten Minas

August 10, 2011

My thoughts here are for my edification. I have definite opinions that are, for lack of better terms, of a conservative bent and will most likely offend on some level readers of this blog. My intent is not to offend. Nor is it to open up to debate my personal beliefs. If my beliefs cannot be respected, please do not continue reading this post and come back on another day.

I have less than 10 posts in July because I enjoyed time at Bible camp, a week with each child. I don’t like to send them alone. Crazy, it’s Bible camp; I should be able to send them alone. But I like to be there, photographing every little thing, capturing the memories I know they’ll forget without me.

Anyway, my room and board and 1 camper is free if I teach. For my second week, my lesson was Faithfulness: The Parable of the Ten Minas. So I start out following the script but I love taking a passage and just expounding on it, making it come alive to the kids (although I start with the disclaimer that my goal is to be the most boring teacher they ever have!). I always end up learning something, either from one of their questions, or from looking at it a new way each day. My comments will be in italics.

Luke 19:1-27

New International Version (NIV)

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

7All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

8But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

I was not assigned verses 1-9 but I believe that context is very important to understanding the passages. These verses tell what Jesus had been doing, who he had been talking to, and also gives an explanation for vs. 11.

My listening audience was middle schoolers. I asked about tax collectors and why they wouldn’t be very popular people. Jewish tax collectors were collecting for Rome, the enemy. Without a strict IRS tax code, tax collectors could over charge to line their own pockets or take deals. Zacchaeus had heard of Jesus and His message. Zacchaeus repented of his ways and made amends with his fellow Jews. Jesus praised him and spoke about his understanding of Jesus’ purpose.

This leads to verse 11 where it becomes clear that not all had the same understand of salvation as Zacchaeus.

The Parable of the Ten Minas

11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.

Jesus’ listeners were probably upset that He was praising Zacchaeus, a tax collector who preyed on his fellow Jews. How could He be praising him and saying he has salvation? His listeners wanted Rome overthrown and an earthly King along the lines of David to conquer all their enemies, not simple words of salvation offered to a tax collector for learning the errors of his ways.

 12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.[a]‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’

14“But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’

This represents what Jesus was trying to tell them: He was going to go away and return and He would return with His rightful authority. He would be leaving his followers with gifts to use; very simple instructions. Like the noble in the parable, most of mankind does not want to believe in Him or follow Him. Aren’t atheists, followers of other religions or ones who pick and choose which verses to believe and follow and which to throw just because they sound harsh and judgemental and threaten their “alternative” lifestyles just like the delegation declaring “we don’t want you to be our king”?

15“He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.

16“The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’

17“‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’

18“The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’

19“His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’

We can take comfort that Jesus will return and that followers will be rewarded for using what has been given to us.

20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’

22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’

I think this is a good response to those who claim “Well, a loving God wouldn’t allow such and such to happen” or even “God loves everyone and it is so-called intolerant Christian who aren’t right.” These verses state clearly that God is a hard God and His ways are not always easy nor popular. He has not hidden this from us–even the servant knew the man was a “hard man.” Ignorance and fear are no excuse.

As for the minas and the gifts, the king rebukes him by saying, “You didn’t even put it in the bank to earn interest; you could have at least done that and earned something!” The gifts and talents we are given can “earn interest” just be being faithful, raising your children in the Truth, being an example to others. We aren’t all called to be dynamic preachers or missionaries or writers and teachers.

24“Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’

25“‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’

26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away.

The keyword for this parable was Faithfulness. Gifts, talents, the Ten Minas are given without justification, without earning them. God is faithful to reward those who are faithful to Him; those that are not will have everything taken, including life. We will be held accountable for what we have done or not done.

I told my class that I am grateful and thankful that Christ actually will stand in my place when I am asked to give an accounting. I asked the class does this mean that I don’t have to even bother to try to use the gifts God freely gives? Can’t I just wrap it in a cloth and hide it? Absolutely not! God is faithful and He asks us to be nothing less than what He is–faithful.

 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”

I don’t think hell fire and brimstone should be preached every Sunday–it is much more uplifting to know that if I am faithful with the undeserved gifts God will say “Well done.” But we do need to be reminded that there are consequences, very unpleasant consequences, to choosing to do nothing or to ignore that God is a “hard man.” Feel-good religion can lead one into a false security believing that “if it feels good, how can it be wrong? If it honors God, how can it be wrong?” Didn’t this kind of thinking lead King Saul to his ultimate destruction and the loss of his kingship? (I Samuel 15)

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 19:13 A mina was about three months’ wages.
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One comment

  1. […] Personal: Parables of the Ten Minas is my most viewed personal opinion […]



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