Summary: Mission Festival sermon that reminds us to be faithful with the use of the means of grace
Luke 19:11-27 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. He said: "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. "The first one came and said, `Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ `Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. `Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ "The second came and said, `Sir, your mina has earned five more.’"His master answered, `You take charge of five cities.’ "Then another servant came and said, `Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’ "His master replied, `I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ "Then he said to those standing by, `Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ `Sir,’ they said, `he already has ten!’ "He replied, `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. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them--bring them here and kill them in front of me.’ "
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ.
You have just heard Jesus tell his parable of the Ten Minas. Now just so you know what a mina is I will tell you. "A mina was about three month’s wages." It was a single coin. Imagine that! You get paid quarterly at work and on pay day they hand you a little coin. (I suppose all we get now is a smallish piece of paper that’s not even real money). So when I combine minas and mission work as I did in the theme, what do you think this sermon is going to be about? If you are thinking, ‘Well, it takes a lot of mina’s or money to send missionaries out with the Gospel to far away places where we cannot go’ --- I applaud your quick thinking, which while true, is nevertheless not what this sermon is going to be about. Remember, these minas are mentioned in a parable that means that are to be understood as standing for something. Understanding what they represent is not only the key to understanding the point of the parable, but also what minas really have to do with mission work, and what any of it has to do with you and me.
Jesus tells the story of a nobleman going away to a distant country in order to have himself appointed king there and then return home. This was not uncommon in those days to have the rulers of the land living somewhere else. Before he leaves he calls ten of his servants in and gives each of them a mina, not a tremendously large sum - but certainly big enough. He tells them, "Put this money to work, until I come back." Literally, "Do business [with it] until I come." He leaves, is crowned king, and then returns. "Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it." The first servant came and said, "Sir, your mina has earned ten more." The next one reported another good gain of five more . The master was pleased and entrusted each of these servants with several whole cities in the kingdom! To have wisely invested a single coin, hardly deserves such reward, but the master apparently was a generous guy!
Then another servant came in, pulls a handkerchief out of his pocket, carefully opens it and gives the master back the very coin he had been entrusted with. The master is enraged, calling the man a wicked (not lazy, not stupid, not undependable, - but wicked) servant. And then in a most damning accusation asks, "Why… didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?" The master took the coin away from the wicked servant and gave it to the guy who had invested and made ten minas, declaring "everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing even what he has will be taken away."