“Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’ “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. Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’ “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’”
Luke 19:12-21 NKJV
Good and faithful
We have become a world and nation when the act of simple participation is affirmed, and excelling has been met with disapproval. Even in out educational system, letter grades have been taken away in favor of non offensive pass/fail. The idea is to give those who have not performed a better sense of themselves, thus lifting their esteem.
This thinking has also crept into the church in America, as many self professed followers of Jesus hold high their church attendance, their lukewarm service, and all of the outward signs of devotion, though within they have little regard for the things of God. The pews are filled with participators sitting passively, awaiting the rapture of the church.
Reading Luke nineteen, I was reminded that our God is not One who passes out participation trophies. The Lord Jesus paid the price for our salvation and justification, but what happens after that, namely our sanctification, requires that we be active participants.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
Philippians 2:12-13 NKJV
Paul is not writing of the salvation that justifies, but the salvation that sets us apart, sanctified for the work of the Lord. It is the work that fosters maturity, as we grow in grace. As we grow, we also become more fruitful, as we are more likely to be about the Father’s business: leading people to Jesus.
We are as the servant of the master in the parable, as we have been given minas, opportunities and spiritual gifts, that are to be used to advance the kingdom. We are not meant to hide our minas in a handkerchief, but invest them, in the hope of adding to them.
There are effective servants in every church, people committed to the sharing of the Good News, to advancing its spread to many. They work tirelessly, propelled by their love of Jesus, and a burden for the lost. They produce much fruit in the way of souls saved, believers edified, and there is much spiritual fruit present in their lives, as the presence of Jesus shines through.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:22-25 NKJV
Striving to do the utmost for the Lord’s highest is our calling, and it has blessing in the here and now and in the soon to come. We often think of the idea of the rapture of the church, that moment when the sons of God are gathered to the Father. We look upon it as the ultimate participation trophy. In reality, we will be each examined individually, each evaluated for our worthiness to go.
Those chosen will rule and reign over much, as the servants in the passage. Those who have done much with their minas, will have more authority than those who did little.
Brothers and sisters, let us make the most of the minas the Lord has given us. Let us be wise servants, seeking to do the work the Lord has left for us. We are working in a world that does not want the Lord ruling over it, but we still must be about the Father’s business.
If you are one who has opted to wrap your mina in a handkerchief, unwrap it, and invest it. The time is short and the signs are everywhere. Let us be ones who press on, seeking the prize. We are in this race of faith, and may we be those who stretch, leaning hard into the tape.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14 NKJV
I want that “upward call”!
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