Most people assume that the processes of life will continue more or less predictably (2 Peter 3:3-4); and that there is no final end point at which everything will be disclosed, assessed, rewarded or punished. Even some followers of Jesus know He will return but get on with their lives as though that fact does not matter (2 Peter 3:11-13). So Jesus teaches in this parable (Luke 19:11-27) about the dangers of unproductive faith and of being an enemy of Christ.
The unproductive servant is called to account and stripped of his privileges, which are given to others. The Apostle Paul puts it like this in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved – even though only as one escaping through the flames."
But the enemies of the king in this parable suffer a far worse fate than the lazy servant who despised his royal command. The definition of 'enemy of Christ' is given here: those who do not want Him to rule over them. They may be serving themselves first, or their families, or their work, or some philosophy or religion; but they all have this in common - they do not want Jesus to be Lord of their lives. All those people have only the prospect of eternal destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
That is why the gospel was given to the church and explained by the apostles: so that the believers might know how to live to please Christ and that 'enemies of Christ' may hear the gospel, believe and be saved (see www.crosscheck.org.uk to know more). That is why the gospel is so important: Paul says in Romans 1:16, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile." Because the King is coming back, giving no extra warning of His arrival (1 Thessalonians 5:2), the message for us today is straightforward, and has urgency - if you believe the gospel, do it wholeheartedly; and if you know the gospel, share it unashamedly!
© Dr Paul Adams