"A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ' Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.' "But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king.' "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. Luke 19:12-15
Jesus used parables to illustrate spiritual truth taken from day to day examples. Each sentence of the parable is packed full of useful information that pertains to our lives today. This particular parable is similar yet different from the parable of the talents. The difference may lie in Lukeís research and what the witnesses understood from what they heard Jesus teach . It may be for this reason that Luke was inspired to write a slightly different version to the parable of the talents bringing out a point that we need to hear.
Luke wrote about a man of noble birth who is going to be made king while Matthew wrote about a man going on a journey. Both were going away for an unspecified time and would return expecting their servants to be busy increasing his assets while he was gone. Before departing he gave ten capable servants assets to work with and orders to put his assets to work.
Christians have no trouble naming the man going on a journey and the man of noble birth as Jesus Christ. Both went on an extended trip perhaps to see relatives or take a vacation, but the man of noble birth left to become King. Both were leaders of men, one was the head of household and Lukeís version was about a man whose birthright was to rule an entire kingdom. Luke in his account, reflected that a group of men vocalized their opposition by saying that they did not want him to be king over them.
On their return, both men made inquiries of their servants to determine the results of their efforts and assign new responsibilities accordingly. In each story the two servants who brought an increase into their masterís house were rewarded according to the work they performed. Unfortunately, in each story one servant was too afraid to do anything with his masterís assets. What the master discovered was that the servant knew that he was a hard man, so the servant hid his assets and waited for his masterís return.
Because he did not apply himself to the task assigned to him he was compensated with the very thing he feared. The man in authority determined his servant to be lazy and destructive to his well being. The servant lost his job and was escorted to the road beyond the masterís gate. There on the outside, the former servant had plenty of time to consider what he could have done to avoid the disastrous outcome of his life.
The noble man had a solution for those who did not want to serve him as king. Anyone who would not serve the king could become a dissenting force that would disrupt the kingdom by creating unrest in the future. Putting the dissenters to death served two purposes. This action would give his citizens a healthy respect for the king and the knowledge that he will enforce the laws of his kingdom. Secondly, the source of unrest would be eliminated where his people could live in peace and prosper. Still the rejection and being cast outside the camp where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth was as bad as being put to death. In the Long run, it would have been better for the dissenters to have bowed the knee and humbled themselves before the King
Ironically, there are large numbers of sinners who know what God expects of them, but for one reason or another refuse to repent of their wicked ways. God gave man a mind and the incentives to think about when he considers the options of life and death. Living by the futility of their mind, sinners think that they have plenty of time to accept Godís offer sometime in the future. They also think that a God of love would not throw good people like themselves into a lake of fire.
God inspired Paul to write that all men have sinned, and all have fallen short of Godís glory, therefore those who have sinned will perish without Christ. Christians have reason to fear God also for even those who say Lord, Lord and do nothing in the lordís name may not be able to save themselves from being roasted by the fires of hell.
God wants everyone to know that the choice to serve the Lord Almighty has always been yours to make.
See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live Deuteronomy 30:15,19
"Furthermore, tell the people, 'This is what the LORD says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. Jeremiah 21:8
Then God encouraged those who know about his offer to choose life. God does not want anyone to perish but to come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Anyone who chooses to believe in Christ is eligible to receive eternal life, but there are many that believe in Jesus Christ that will perish. It is written the demons believe in God and shudder.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
Jesus Christ said
If you love me, you will obey what I command. John 14:15
Many have made a confession of faith, but the confession may not have been credible in Godís eye. In your confession you promised you would serve him and that commitment demands a demonstration of your love for your heavenly father through obedience. Remember that your good confession was brought before a gracious God and based on your promise he chose to adopt you into his family. Are you honoring your commitment to serve God? Letís consider that the born again experience is critical to our eternal life, but it also is a choice made by God.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of Godóchildren born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. John 1:12-13
Without Christ no one has access to God and no one is worthy enough to enter heaven on his or her own merits. You become Godís children by Godís choice not by human descent. Again, Salvation is by Godís grace through faith and it is a gift so that no man can boast about what he or she has done. Anyone can choose eternal life from the day they enter the physical realm to the day they depart and return to God. Then they face judgment based on their deeds during their lifetime on earth.
the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
In addition to eternal life, every Christian has a specific gift given by God to be use in producing fruit in Godís kingdom. Whether the gift is the ability to shine shoes or run a large corporation it is to be used to glorify God. Every gift is to be used in accordance with the commandments of God expressly to love one another, but ultimately your gift leads others into the kingdom of God.
"The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Mark 12:29-31
The love Americanís think of immediately of is physical in nature and they use the term love for everything under the sun. Americans have lost the meaning of true love with the abuse of the term. Americans love their cat and the car they drive but they do not express a love for their fellow man in the same way. Love is the greatest commandment of God concerning your relationship with God and other human beings. When establishing your relationship with God, consider that relationship to be sacred and more precious than gold. Take this to heart, love is a compelling and demanding force in your life. Therefore, we must consider how God defines love and what love is from Godís perspective. God inspired John to say this about love.
This is love for God: to obey his commands. 1 John 5:3.
"If you love me, you will obey what I command. John 14:15-16
The writer of Hebrews was inspired by God to describe Jesus in the following way.
During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him Hebrews 5:7-9
Notice two things: Jesus offered prayers with strong emotions and those emotions reveal that his petitions were about things he loved. Jesus was the Son of God, but it made no difference, he learned to obey his father as we do by what he suffered. Jesus became a human being with all the temptations that all Christians face yet he did not sin. His life was in the hands of God even when he knew that it was his fatherís will to die for the sins of the world.
It took some thing greater than a command of God to take Christ to the cross. At the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked the father to take the cup from him. In other words, Jesus did not want to go to the cross. If it wasnít for Christís love for his father and the people of the world, nothing could have compelled Jesus to die for the sins of the world.
Jesus Christ came into the world to bring man back into relationship with God and through his sacrificial death on the cross Christ paid the price to atone for the sins of the world.
Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 9:28
For those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord, their former sin no longer exists. We have become Godís children and servants of his kingdom. Our Lord and Savior has gone away to prepare a place for us and we should expecting his return at any moment. Jesus Christ is the representation of the person of noble birth that will return as king of kings and Lord of Lords in the near future. That day is not too far off and what we have done in the flesh while he is gone is of extreme importance. In the parable both the master and king returned and they examined what the servants did while he was gone. Consider that one man refused to put what his master gave him to use and the reward the master gave. At the same time consider the rewards for the two servants who delighted in putting his masters talents to work.
On that day, the outcome of your life is not going to depend upon the church you attend, the denominational beliefs you hold sacred, or the amount of money you gave away in your life time. God has given those who choose life the responsibility of finding out what pleases the Lord and the opportunity to do them.
Regardless of how the Lordís day unfolds doesnít really matter, it is more important to be ready when he comes. None of us want to receive what the servant who did nothing with the talent or gift God has given us. The question should never be what you have done to be worthy, but rather does Jesus Christ know you? A relationship with God will give you the confidence to know things are right between you and God and that heaven is waiting for you.