“Servants” and “citizens”
In Luke 19 we read that Jesus
“proceeded to tell a parable … because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. He said therefore, ‘A nobleman (Jesus) went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return’” (verses 11,12).
We know this parable well. The nobleman calls “ten of his servants” and “gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘engage in business till I come’” (verse 13).
A mina coin is the equivalent of three months’ wages for a labourer and they each have the same amount. When the time eventually comes for his return he calls his servants to him to ask how they have traded. Two examples are given, one has doubled his money and another has achieved a fifty per cent increase. Both are commended and given positions of authority. There is another that does nothing with the money, as a result he is called “a wicked servant” (verse 22). All who put no value on the ‘word’ they have been given are seen by Jesus as “wicked”.
What we are inclined to overlook is that there is another class of people in the parable called “citizens” (verse 14) – they are there when he goes away and when he comes back. They are not interested in working for the nobleman at all. The text says,
“they hated him” (verse 14)!
It is the same Greek word as in chapter 14:26 where Jesus challengingly says that the one coming to him must have an attitude of “hate” toward all their nearest relatives
“and even his own life” or “he cannot be my disciple”.
There is no place for the “lukewarm” (Revelation 3:16) in our relationship with the nobleman. These “citizens” send a “delegation” (verse 14) saying they do not want him as their king! When he returns he counts them as “enemies”.
So the world is made up of three kinds of people. First those who are diligent and dedicated in their service to Christ: secondly those who accept his “money” but are not diligent, and thirdly, those who want nothing to do with the nobleman; they do with their lives whatever pleases them. What a tragedy to be in the last class,
“as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me” (verse 27).
How soon now before the world witnesses this “slaughter”? But let us finish on a positive note, let’s recall what we read about four weeks ago in 1 Corinthians 4:5,
“do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God”.
What will he “bring to light” about you and I and our work as “his servants”? Let us keep asking ourselves this question today – and make sure we get the right answer.