Jesus is a persistent Master, isn’t He? Didn’t He just finish teaching us in Luke 16:1-13 that we should be faithful with our money and gifts and to give an account of our stewardship? And then in Luke 16:19-31 He told us about the rich man who had not been faithful with the riches he had been given and refused to share God’s gifts with Lazarus. And here He is again in Luke 19:11-28 reminding us that He has given us His gifts as stewards and that we should put them to good use.
Obviously, stewardship is a major concern of our Master’s, and therefore as His disciples it must be a major concern of ours. Once again, we are reminded that if we are faithful with the little that He gives us at first, He will entrust us with more later. I suppose He could remind us of the need to be faithful stewards once each day, and it would not be too much.
But there’s an interesting twist in the parable of the minas. Luke lets us know that the reason Jesus tells the parable of the minas is that the disciples thought the Kingdom of God would appear immediately. This is an important key to understanding the parables.
Now it’s clear from all else that Jesus says and does that the Kingdom of God is already present – at hand – as soon as Jesus begins His public ministry. So the issue isn’t whether or not the Kingdom had come, but whether or not it would appear immediately, that is, all at once. Judging from this parable, other Scripture, and from our own experience, the answer is “No.” The Kingdom will not appear all at once.
There is, therefore, a tension in the teachings of Jesus and in our lives as disciples, and the tension is this: that God’s Kingdom is already here, but yet not fully. Time, therefore, becomes a very important factor because there is a gap in time between when the servants have been entrusted with a down payment (the minas) on the kingdom and when the King returns in the fullness of His kingdom. What the servants do with the minas while the King is gone and before He returns is therefore all-important.
The commandment of the King is instructive for us, for the King says: “Do business till I come.” In other words, “I’ve given you a small part of my Kingdom to use while I’m gone, and I want to see how you do with it so that when I return I know who to entrust with more.” The servants were therefore to avoid 2 errors. The first error was in believing that the King would never return and therefore they could do what they wanted with the minas. The second error was in thinking that all they had to do was preserve what the King had given and that no labor or investment on their part was required.
Jesus is speaking, of course, to us. There are those in His Kingdom who do not invest themselves in His kingdom because they think they have got plenty of time. Though God may have reminded me today to be a more faithful steward, I’ll get around to it manana because I’m kind of busy today. As long as I do the things God wants me to do sometime over the course of my life, the present day doesn’t really matter. I don’t really know anyone who overtly reasons this way, but our hearts silently and invisibly argue this way all the time. The problem is that the day that God has given you, with all its resources and all its opportunities is the mina He has entrusted you with. In fact, today and all it contains, is all you are ever given. Therefore, what you do with this little thing today, has everything to do with your eternal reward in heaven.The second error, related to the first, is in thinking that once we’ve given our life to God that all we have to do is preserve this life by locking it away. But the Kingdom of Heaven is one of dynamic power, it is of the Spirit, and it can never stand still. Our life in Christ is an organic life that must move and breathe and eat, or else it will die. As that great prophet Bob Dylan once sung: “He not busy being born is busy dying” (insert your own harmonica music here.)
I’ve noticed that these twin errors of time are very much related to our tendencies as both individual Christians and as churches. Some of us are so stuck in the past that it is difficult for people to see the relevance of God and His kingdom today. And some of us are in such a hurry to hop aboard the latest futuristic, entertaining, technological vehicle of our culture that we become too much like our culture. Hip, we may be (usually not as much as we’d like to believe), but faithful disciples, maybe not.
But the Master has given us His treasure today, and we are to be busy putting it to use. And the business of Christians is worship and discipleship, two things which should never be done from a static, inactive posture.
So, then, the Master has given you His treasure and asked you to put it to use. In fact, He asks His Church, as His Presence here on earth, to be about the Father’s business, just as He was while here on earth.
Let’s get busy!
Prayer: Master, teach me to listen to Your divine instruction. Teach me to be about Your business each and every day, not putting off until tomorrow what You have commanded me to do today. Help me not to hide the treasure You have given me but to use it and therefore multiply it so that Your kingdom will come.
Point for Meditation:
- How well have you been investing in God’s Kingdom? Consider how much effort, time, and talents you put into earthly pursuits and compare them to how much you give to the pursuit of God and His kingdom.
Resolution: I resolve today to see today and its circumstances as God’s mina for me to invest. I resolve as well to find one thing that I invest myself in today but which I in the past have put off.
© 2015 Fr. Charles Erlandson