As they listened to this, Jesus told them another parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought God’s kingdom would appear right away. He said, “A certain man who was born into royalty went to a distant land to receive his kingdom and then return. He called together ten servants and gave each of them money worth four months’ wages. He said, ‘Do business with this until I return.’ His citizens hated him, so they sent a representative after him who said, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ After receiving his kingdom, he returned and called the servants to whom he had given the money to find out how much they had earned. The first servant came forward and said, ‘Your money has earned a return of one thousand percent.’ The king replied, ‘Excellent! You are a good servant. Because you have been faithful in a small matter, you will have authority over ten cities.’ “The second servant came and said, ‘Master, your money has made a return of five hundred percent.’ To this one, the king said, ‘You will have authority over five cities.’ “Another servant came and said, ‘Master, here is your money. I wrapped it up in a scarf for safekeeping. I was afraid of you because you are a stern man. You withdraw what you haven’t deposited and you harvest what you haven’t planted.’ The king replied, ‘I will judge you by the words of your own mouth, you worthless servant! You knew, did you, that I’m a stern man, withdrawing what I didn’t deposit, and harvesting what I didn’t plant? Why then didn’t you put my money in the bank? Then when I arrived, at least I could have gotten it back with interest.’ “He said to his attendants, ‘Take his money and give it to the one who has ten times as much.’ ‘But Master,’ they said, ‘he already has ten times as much!’ He replied, ‘I say to you that everyone who has will be given more, but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for my enemies who don’t want me as their king, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’” (Luke 19:11-27, CEB)
I’ll be honest when I started reading this parable today it seemed a bit off or odd. I wasn’t used to this translation of the text. I do not remember there being 10 servants that got money, and since there were 10 servants why are there only 3 responses?
And what are we really to learn from this anyway?
All 10 servants get money of four months’ wages, to do business with as they please.
And we can discern from the people not wanting this man to be their king that he probably wasn’t good at leading, or was not a good person.
But 1 servant does something with the money and increases it 1000 times. So the master puts him in charge of 10 cities.
The second servant does something with the money and increases it 500 times. So the master puts in charge of 5 cities.
And another comes and says ‘Master, here is your money. I wrapped it up in a scarf for safekeeping. I was afraid of you because you are a stern man. You withdraw what you haven’t deposited and you harvest what you haven’t planted.’ Why don’t the people want this man to be king? and what does this slave know? It seems a little weird there are 10 servants with money but we only hear about one that increases the money 1000 times, one that increases the money 500 times, and one that hides the money to not lose any. It was more important to this person not to lose anything because the master is stern than to risk gaining.
Do we feel that way about what God has given us? That we are afraid of being told we didn’t do good enough and we should have tried harder? Are we hung up on hearing God say, “Welcome home, well done good and faithful servant,” that we don’t try because we are afraid we will fail?
Obviously, this master is not God or not like God, but Jesus told this parable to help us understand we can not just hide away. We need to use what we have been given. If we lose it, big deal, we tried and showed the world what we got.
Do not be afraid to fail. Put yourself out there and live love out loud.
Loving People. Loving God.