Jesus was telling a parable to correct the popular idea that the Messiah’s role was to liberate Israel from Roman rule. It also sets the scene for Jesus’ second coming (Luke 19:11-27). In this story, Jesus is the King and His servants represent those who were entrusted with the gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:4). They were commissioned to look after His kingdom on earth when He returned to heaven.
Each of the servants was given the same amount of investment capital and told to use it profitably. We are now at the point in the story when the King had returned to see what His servants had done with what they had been given. The first servant reported a 1000% increase on the capital invested: the second, a 500% increase. Both were commended for their hard work and astute business sense, and, as a reward, they were made regional governors over ten and five cities respectively.
Everybody around Jesus was expecting His kingdom to appear immediately (Luke 19:11). The purpose of this parable was to explain that there would be a significant time delay while He went away. However, He would certainly return and then expect to receive an increase in His investment. The first two servants made a good profit, and even though one was more successful than the other, both were appropriately rewarded with further responsibility and authority on behalf of the King.
Jesus has not yet returned, but when He does, everybody will be called to account (2 Corinthians 5:10). His evaluation is not primarily about how we have managed our finances, but how we handled the truth given to us: especially the gospel truth about Jesus. Romans 1:19-20 says that everybody has got enough information about the nature of God, so that nobody will have any excuse when Jesus returns. That is especially true of all those who have heard the gospel of Jesus. Those of us who know and love Him should want to live and speak in such a way that the truth of the gospel is amplified into many other lives so that many will embrace it and be won by His love. Although we are all different, everybody is responsible to prepare now for Christ's audit when He returns. It is a sobering message. If we have only enlarged our own kingdoms and ignored our responsibility to work with Christ to extend His authority on earth, we will be shamefaced on that last day. So whatever God has given you, use it for Him. Time, possessions, skills and money all belong to Him. We only hold them temporarily as trustees while we are alive, but we are accountable for them all.
© Dr Paul Adams