The Parable of the Ten Pounds
11 As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12 So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return. 13 He summoned ten of his slaves, and gave them ten pounds,[a] and said to them, ‘Do business with these until I come back.’ 14 But the citizens of his country hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to rule over us.’ 15 When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading. 16 The first came forward and said, ‘Lord, your pound has made ten more pounds.’ 17 He said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small thing, take charge of ten cities.’ 18 Then the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has made five pounds.’ 19 He said to him, ‘And you, rule over five cities.’ 20 Then the other came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I returned, I could have collected it with interest.’ 24 He said to the bystanders, ‘Take the pound from him and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ 25 (And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’) 26 ‘I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.
We’ve all heard stories of folks from previous generations who, because of their mistrust of the banking system, kept all of their money in cash, hidden in various places throughout their homes— stuffed in mattresses, slipped between pages in family Bibles, crammed behind loose bricks, rolled in empty coffee cans. Even today I’ve heard stories of folks whose dresser drawers are completely full from bottom to top of nothing but cold, hard cash. For most of us, such an approach to personal finance makes little sense. Most of us try to get whatever savings we have, however large or small the amount might be, invested as quickly as possible so that we might earn as much as we possibly can. Instead of letting our money sit idle, most of us try to invest our money, putting it to work for us, maximizing it’s potential for growth.
In today’s reading from Luke, Jesus tells a story about a man who gives equal gifts to each of his ten slaves. The first two slaves in the story take the gift they had been given and they multiply the gift. The third slave in the story, however, takes the gift and hides it in a piece of cloth, afraid to invest the gift lest it diminish in value or even become lost. The man in the story praises the first two, but admonishes the third. Better to use the gifts that had been given, even if doing so involved taking a risk, than to hide the gifts, thereby preventing them from ever accomplishing anything.
So it is in our lives of discipleship to Jesus. Each of us has been given gifts by God to use in the kingdom. If our gift is teaching, then God wants us to teach! If our gift is generosity, then God wants us to give! If our gift is baking, then God wants us to bake! If our gift is music, then God wants us to sing! If our gift is carpentry, then God wants us to build! If our gift is prayer, then God wants us to pray! What’s your God-given gift? How does God want you to use your gift for the building up of God’s kingdom? What gift do you have that needs to be taken out of hiding and shared with the world? Better to use the gift than to disappoint the giver!
Giver of All Gifts, make me bold in the sharing of my gifts that, through me, your kingdom might grow. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Written by Pastor Greg Busboom—Lead Pastor firstname.lastname@example.org