Sunday, January 02, 2011

[Matt's Messages] "Investing for Jesus in 2011"

“Investing for Jesus in 2011” 
Certain of Jesus:  The Gospel of Luke
January 2, 2011
Luke 19:11-27

This is often called “the Parable of the Ten Minas.”  A “mina” is a unit of money that was worth between 3 and 4 months wages for a laborer.  Not a little sum, not a hugemongous sum.  The old English currency, “the pound” was used in old English translations like the King James Version. So, you might have grown up knowing this as the Parable of the Pounds.  Not a New’s Resolution to go to the Gym!  But a Parable of Investment.  Investment.

I see, at least, four major points of application from Jesus’ parable of investment.


When I read it, did you catch why Jesus told this particular parable?   Look at v.11.

“While they were listening to this [which in the context, is Jesus’ declaration of Zaccheus’ salvation], 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.”

Jesus was near Jerusalem.  The feast of the Passover is right around the corner.

Jerusalem is teeming with pilgrims who have come for the feast and long for the re-establishment of a Jewish kingdom.

And Jesus has been heading towards Jerusalem and talking about a Kingdom!

So people (v.11), “thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.”

But it wasn’t. At least, not the way they thought it would.

There was going to be a delay.

Remember, we’ve seen this quite a few times so far in the Gospel of Luke.  Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God and being ready for it, expecting it, wanting it, entering it.

But also waiting for it.

There is going to be a delay that will require patience.

That’s why Jesus tells this story.  V.12

“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.'”

There is going to be a delay.  A waiting period.

The man of noble birth is going away to be appointed king and then is going to return.

It won’t happen overnight.

And therefore, they must wait.

Now, who is this “man of noble birth?”  Who corresponds to that character in reality?

Jesus Himself, right?

So, this is waiting for Jesus.

Jesus’s death and resurrection and then ascension into heaven are His going to the distant country to be appointed king.

And sometime, someday, He will return.

In the meantime, today, we must wait.

Waiting for Jesus.

How are you doing at that?

Are you waiting for Jesus in 2011?

There are two ditches that we can fall into while waiting.

One is to not expect Jesus’ return.  To forget that He was ever here and is ever coming back.  Many people fall into that ditch.  Doesn’t seem like He’s ever going to come, so we give up waiting.

Jesus may return in 2011.  And we need to be expectantly waiting for Him.

The rest of Jesus’ story tells us how to do that well.

But the other ditch that we can fall into is to forget or ignore that there is going to be a delay and be impatient.  Not be willing to wait for Jesus’ return and to get hyper about it.

These folks were getting hyper about the kingdom of God coming AT ONCE.

They couldn’t be happy with the Kingdom coming on Jesus’ time-table, they had to have it NOW!

And we can fall into that ditch today, too.  There is a lot of fervor in some Christian circles today about the return of Christ.  There is an End-Times Mania that runs through Christianity today.

The world is getting so bad.
Jesus must be returning right now.
And the subtext is, “I can’t wait!”

Did you know that Jesus is going to return on May 21, 2011?

That’s what Harold Camping says.

You might have seen the billboards and the advertising on box trucks up and down the eastern seaboard. 

There is a this guy on the radio named Harold Camping that claims that the Bible teaches that Jesus will return on May 21, 2011.

Now, never-mind that Mr. Camping had proclaimed on the radio that Jesus was going to return in September of 1994.  In case you didn’t notice, that prediction did not come true!

But many people are still convinced and getting rabid about May 21, 2011.

Now, will Jesus return on May 21, 2011?

He might.  He has that prerogative.  He can come back whenever He and His Father want Him to.

It will happen sometime, someday. 
But I don’t know when it will happen. 
I’ve been told there will be a delay.

And in the meantime, today, I am told to wait.

Wait for Jesus.


This is HOW we’re supposed to wait in 2011.   Look at start again in verse 12.

“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.”

Invest for Jesus.

“Put this money to work.” That’s investing.
The King James says, “Occupy to till I come.”
The English Standard Version says, “Engage in business until I come.”

Each servant in story receives 1 mina.
10 servants, 10 minas.
1 Each.

Now, Jesus told a similar parable that Matthew records in Matthew 25.  It has a similar point, but it was a different story.

In that story, the leader gives out different amounts to different servants.

But here, it’s the same amount to each.

1 mina for each servant.

And what are they supposed to do with it?  Invest it.

Put it to work.  Do business.

Be busy with it.

Invest for Jesus.

Now, who are the servants in this story?

The disciples are.  And that, by extension, includes us.

We’re the servants each given a mina to invest until Jesus returns.

Now, what are the minas?

Does Jesus give all of us 3 months wages?

Do these minas stand for money?

Well, I think that’s one thing that they stand for.

But I think it’s bigger than that, too.

It’s everything Jesus has given us that He wants us to be investing until He returns.

That includes our money.
It also includes our time.
And it includes our abilities, our skills, our gifts.

And, probably more than anything, it includes the gospel message itself.

Jesus wants us to invest our lives for His kingdom until He returns with His Kingdom.

What are you planning to do in 2011 to invest for Jesus in His Kingdom?

How are you going to use your money?

Do you have a plan for giving in 2011?

My wife loves it when we can start the year with a budget–for giving.

We don’t really like setting a budget for spending. But we do love figuring out where we’re going to invest our dollars for the Kingdom in the coming year.

On top of our giving to the church, we like to invest in missionaries, in Christian crisis pregnancy centers, in CCEF, and other groups like that.

This is a great time of year to plan to give.

And not just money, but time.

Time is the major currency of our day.  Anybody can give a buck.  But who can give an hour?  A day?  A week?

How are you planning to use your time to invest in the Jesus’ Kingdom in 2011?

“Occupy until He comes.”
Be busy for the Kingdom until the King comes.

Invest for Jesus.

Do you have a ministry that takes time?

Are you serving in a ministry here at the church or in your community?

Notice how Jesus puts these servants to work.  He gives them responsibility.

They are supposed to be productive.

We are supposed to be productive Christians.

We are His servants!  We are His stewards.

We are supposed to be busy until Jesus returns.

What are you going to do with your time?

There are a number of possibilities in your bulletin today.

For example, the men are planning the Wild Game Dinner.  What is your part in that this year?

We’re looking for more participation in our worship celebrations.

How could you use your talents to serve the King in worship in the coming year?

Teaching a class, leading a Link Group, volunteering to help with the nursery, children’s church, greeting, ushering, welcoming, fixing things around the church building.

Investing your time for Jesus in 2011.

To do this will require RISK.

All true investments require some degree of risk.

Stepping out.  Taking a chance.  Putting something at peril for the greater reward.

Let’s look at verses 15-19.

Of course, first, there is verse 14. 

“But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king.'”

Now, we’re going to skip over that and come back to it when we get to verse 27.

But right now, you need to know that Jesus is using a true-to-life story that they all know to keep their attention.

When Herod the Great died, his son Archelaus, thought that he would be called King Archelaus just like King Herod had been.

And he went to Rome to ask Caesar Agustus for the title of King.

Sound familiar?

It’s like Jesus was saying, there was a poor man grew up in log cabin in Kentucky who went on to Illinois and then eventually ran for President.

Sounds like Lincoln, right?

And catch this, Archelaus wasn’t very popular, and a delegation of 50 people went to Rome to oppose his getting the kingship.

They didn’t want Archelaus to be king.  He was a wicked man who had killed 3,000 Jews at the Passover and tossed the bodies intoa heap in the temple.

They certainly didn’t want Archelaus to be king. 

Well, Jesus has their attention with these familiar story elements.  But he doesn’t give the punchline yet.  He holds that and goes back to the servants who had supposed to be busy with the investments.  V.15
“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.' [1000% profit!]  '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.'” Stop there for a second.

Notice the reward!

They had taken the risks. They received the rewards!

One servant had taken 1 mina and turned it into 11.  10 more!

Another servant had taken 1 min and turned it into 6.  5 more!

That took risk.  That took sticking their neck out a bit for the king.

And the king richly rewards them.

Notice that he commends them and rewards them.

“Well done, my good servant!”

And the reward is more responsibility.

“Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.”

“You take charge of five cities.”

And I think, we’re supposed to assume that 6 of the other 7 get similar treatment.

Luke doesn’t tell us what happened to all 10 servants.  He gives us the general pattern.

If you were faithful and took risks investing for Jesus, you can expect a big reward in the Kingdom.

Risk.  Reward.
Risk.  Reward.
Risk.  Reward.

Are you ready to risk for Jesus in 2011?

What are you ready to risk for Jesus in 2011?

Jesus rewards our risks for Him.

Now, I don’t know all of what that means in practical terms in the New Heavens and the New Earth.

Will we rule over cities?  What will that look like?

I don’t know exactly, but I can’t wait to find out!!!

I want Jesus to say to me, “Well done, my good servant.”

“Well done, in 2011!”

Thank you for risking for me in 2011.  Enjoy your reward!

I don’t want to be like this other servant in verse 20.  And I don’t want you to be either.  V.20

“‘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.”

This man was afraid to take a risk for the King.

He didn’t understand the King.

He didn’t really KNOW his king.

He thought that he was in a lose-lose situation.  If he made some money with the mina, the king would take it.  If he lost money, the king would expect him to make up the difference.

He didn’t expect a reward at all.

He didn’t know his king.

Do you know your King?

Do you know what kind of King you have?

Do you know what kind of King King Jesus is?

A king who richly reward those who risk for Him?

The king has no mercy for the one who won’t be faithful with a little.  V.22

“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.’”

Unwilling to risk anything?

Unwilling to trust in the Master’s graciousness at all?

No reward at all.

No reward at all.

“Even what he has will be taken away.’”

Now, does that mean that this servant wasn’t really a disciple in the first place and wouldn’t even get to enjoy the kingdom a little bit?

Or that this servant got to enter the kingdom “as through fire” but with no rewards?

I don’t know.  Both are biblical options.

But it doesn’t matter.  We don’t want to be like this man at all!

We want to know the King and take real risks in His name and receive His reward.

That’s what I want for me in 2011.

And it’s what I want for you.

What are you willing to risk for Jesus in 2011?

What are you going to do with Jesus’ gospel message in 2011?

Who are you going to tell about Jesus?

Who are you going to tell about the Cross?

About grace?
About the kingdom?
About Heaven?

And about Hell?

Because Heaven is reall.  And Hell is real.

That’s the brutal point of verse 27.
The returning King says, “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.”


Want Jesus as your King.

Or else.

Now, Jesus wasn’t really like Archelaus.

He isn’t wicked in any way.

But He did go away to receive His kingship.
And there were people who did not want him to rule over them.

Archelaus didn’t receive His kingship.

Caesar told him that he could be an ethnarch but not a King.

If he someday earned it, He could be called King.

But not just yet.  And Archelaus never received the title of King.

But Jesus did.

Jesus has received the title that is above every title.

King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

And one day, He will return to hand out His rewards and to destroy His enemies.

Hell is just as real as heaven is.

The Bible says “Lord Jesus [will be revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.  He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.” [2 Thesssalonians 1:7-10]

“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.”

That’s King Jesus, too.

If you are still an enemy of Jesus’ who does not want Him to be king over you, this is your fate, as well.

But it doesn’t have to be.

If you repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus as your Savior and Lord, your Rescuer and King, then you don’t have to end up like these enemies.

You can be saved!

Turn to Jesus today.

Want Him as your King.

Messages So Far In this Series:

Certain of Jesus
The Back-Story of Jesus
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus - A Very Special Child
Preparing the Way for Jesus
Jesus Is the Son of God
Jesus in Galilee
Jesus and the Sinners
Jesus Brings Real Joy and Rest
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part One
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Two
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Three
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Four
Amazing Jesus
Disappointed with Jesus
Loving Jesus Much
Jesus' Real Family
Jesus Is Lord
Who Is Jesus?
Following Jesus
Sent By Jesus
Q&A With Jesus
Sitting at Jesus' Feet
Jesus Teaches Us to Pray 
Jesus Is Stronger Than Satan
More Blessed Than Jesus' Mom
Jesus and the Judgment to Come
Being Real with Jesus
Jesus and Our Stuff
Be Ready for Jesus' Return
Jesus and Tragedies
Set Free By Jesus
Jesus and the Surprising Kingdom
Jesus and Jerusalem
Jesus at the Party
The Cost of Following Jesus
Jesus and the Lost: Part One
Jesus and the Lost: Part Two
Jesus and the Lost: Part Three
Jesus on Money
Sneering at Jesus
Jesus and the Great Chasm
Jesus Said to His Disciples...
Thanking Jesus
Jesus and the Coming Kingdom
Jesus Says, "Keep Praying"
The Proud, the Humble, and Jesus
Jesus Does the Impossible
Why Did Jesus Come?