Summary: A continuation of a study of the parable of the minas
“I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.”—Luke 19:26
LABORING WITH THE GOSPEL (Part II)
In our Early Morning Worship, we began a discussion of Jesus’ Parable of the Minas or the Pounds. We said that this parable is not very well known among Jesus’ teachings because of the misconception that this is simply Luke’s version of the popular parable of the talents recorded in the 25th chapter of Matthew. In truth, while there are several similarities between the parables, there are some notable differences that make this parable worth a second look.
The Parable of the Talents teaches us about the importance of stewardship—properly managing the resources that God has entrusted to us. The Parable of the Minas teaches us about the importance of our laboring for the Gospel—to use the gift of the Gospel entrusted to us for the growth of Christ’s kingdom. In the Parable of the Talents, the main character is a house-holder, but in the Parable of the Minas, the main character is a Nobleman who would return as a King, and this represents the character of Christ, who entered into the world the first time as the Promised Messiah, but would re-turn as the Conquering King. In the parable of the Talents, each servant received a different-sized gift—according to his ability. But in the parable of the Minas, each servant received the same gift, and this gift represented the Gospel truth that has been entrusted to every believer. In each of the parables, the charge to the servants was the same—do the best that you can with what you’ve been given. But in the case of this parable, this is not so much a reference to stewardship as it is to spiritual responsibility and faithfulness. In that the minas represent the truth of the Gospel, Jesus was charging his hearers with the responsibility of utilizing the Gospel to produce a profit—the addition of more lost people into the Kingdom; this profit would be reflected in fewer people living in darkness and more people walking in the Light. And as we come to discover by the end of this parable, there are consequences for failing to use what has been entrusted to us.
Church, unless we use our spiritual gift, we run the risk of losing our access to the power that is inherent in it. Now, let us be clear about what we’re talking about. The spiritual gift referred to here has nothing to do with gifts of the Holy Spirit, but has to do with the gift that is given to each believer in Jesus Christ at the moment of his belief —the gift of the truth of the Gospel. You see, all of us have different gifts of the Holy Spirit, which God distributes as He chooses. Some of us possess several gifts of the Holy Spirit, while others of us have only one or two. In that regard, gifts of the Holy Spirit relate more to the Matthew 25 parable than to the Luke 19 parable. But before we get to gifts of the Holy Spirit, the first gift that each believer receives is the gift of the truth of the Gospel. It’s a gift that’s the same for everybody; it’s a gift that’s available to everybody; it’s a gift that demands the same criteria from everybody—“believe and you shall be saved”; it’s a gift that promises the same result for everybody—forgiveness of sin, reconciliation with God and assurance of an eternal place with Him in Heaven. And it’s a gift that carries with it the same charge for everybody—the Nobleman has charged his servants to put the gift to us to make a profit.
There’s no greater profit that can be made than the addition of lost people into the body of Christ. As the body of Christ, our greatest desire for people must be that they are saved. But beyond desire, the thought behind this parable is that there must be an accompanying effort on the part of the saved to reach the lost. And this effort must involve the employment of the right tool for the job. And the right tool for this job is the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
One reason why the Church falls short in expanding the kingdom is because we tend to want to use other tools for the job. Rather than stand on the truth of the Gospel, we employ gimmicks like prosperity religion; rather than stand on the truth of the Gospel we opt for formulaic programs—5 steps to healing; 10 steps to a blessing; 12 steps to a breakthrough; 40 days of purpose; rather than stand on the truth of the Gospel, we seek to draw crowds to ourselves through a focus on entertainment rather than ministry. And these things, when used the right way, will draw a crowd, but they won’t expand the Kingdom of Christ. No, the kingdom can only be expanded when we stand on the sim-ple truth of the Gospel; the Kingdom can only be expanded when we tell people about Jesus—eternally pre-existent Jesus; the divine Logos, who was with God in the beginning and, indeed, was God; who became flesh and dwelled among us and permitted us to behold His glory, full of grace and truth; Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God; Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep Who, through the blood of the everlasting covenant makes us perfect in every good work to do His will, and works in us that which is well-pleasing in His sight; Jesus, who created nature for man and then dwelled in nature with man and then succumbed to nature as a man and then defied nature to deliver man from the clutches of death, Hell and the grave; Jesus, who was wounded for our transgression and bruised for our iniquity, who bore the pain that brought us peace and by whose stripes we are healed. If we would but stand on the truth of Gospel, if we would but stand in the power of who Jesus is and what He has done for us, if we would but employ this truth, the kingdom of God will expand as God gives the increase. But if we fail to labor for the Gospel, even though we know the truth of the Gospel and the power of the Gospel, then not only do we fail to do our part to expand the kingdom, but we also run the risk of losing the rewards that employing the Gospel makes available to us.