131110 Luke 19:11-27

Last Updated on Monday, 11 November 2013 Written by Pastor Pagels

Text: Luke 19:11-27
Theme: Put Your Mina Where Your Mouth Is

"Put your money where your mouth is" was not adopted by St. Matthew's Church Council as the title of our end-of-the-year stewardship drive. And "put your money where your mouth is" is not being seriously considered as the theme for a new capital fund campaign either.

"Put your money where your mouth is" is an English idiom that when paraphrased means something like this: "If you are going to make a promise, if you intend to make a commitment, then you better be willing to follow through on it."

Even though these words were never attributed to Jesus or anyone else in the Bible, there is a spiritual application for Christians. And this is the perfect time of year to make it. Today is the second Sunday in the season of End Time, designated as Last Judgment Sunday. And four weeks from today (on December 8th) our congregation will observe its annual Commitment Sunday.

Judgment and stewardship are very different subjects, but they do have something in common. The reality of a final judgment reminds us that one day we will all be called to give an account before a just and holy God. The imminence of a final judgment compels us to make the most of our time on earth before that day comes.

Jesus brings both of these points home in today's text. He had just stayed at the home of Zacchaeus the tax collector in Jericho. And he was about to set out for Jerusalem for the last time. But before he reached the Holy City, he told one more parable.

Luke reports that Jesus shared this parable with people who "thought that the kingdom of God was going to come at once" (11), people who believed that Jesus was an earthly king who had come to establish a earthly kingdom. We know better. We know that Jesus came to establish a spiritual kingdom. We know that when Jesus made his way to Jerusalem he was going to his death.

Even though we have a clear understanding of Jesus' mission, this parable still has something to teach us. Even though this parable is two thousand years old, its message is timeless. Today your Savior sets before you the challenge to...


I. An encouragement to work faithfully
II. A warning against living selfishly

The parable begins: "A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back'" (12,13).  The key to understanding this parable is to understand what the mina represents. In Jesus' day a mina was a unit of currency. There were one hundred drachmas in a mina, and sixty minas in a talent. To convert it into today's money, a mina would be the equivalent of about three month's wages.

Since a mina is money, some have concluded that this parable is about the proper use of our possessions. Jesus does want us to be good managers of our physical blessings, but that doesn't appear to be what he is talking about here. Notice that the master gave each servant one mina. Everyone began with the same amount. And that is simply not the case when it comes to our earthly possessions.

So if the mina doesn't represent physical wealth, it must signify something else, something of great value, something that God has given each of us in equal measure, something that God wants us to put to good use until he returns.

There is one thing, only one thing that matches all of these criteria. The gospel. The parable of the minas is about stewardship, faithful stewardship of God's saving Word. And when the king returned, he gave his faithful servants their reward:

"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'" (15-19).

Before we look at what the servants did with their minas, we need to remember where the minas came from. They were gifts from the master. The servants hadn't earned them. We are given no reason to believe that they deserved them. Even when the first servant reported his results, he told his master: "Your mina has earned ten more" (15).

And so it is with the gospel. The good news of salvation through faith in Jesus is a gift that God has entrusted to each of us. Not because we are superior. Not because we are special. We are the recipients of God's grace because we have a gracious God.

And our King has made it clear that he doesn't want us to lock this treasure away in a safety deposit box. He wants us to invest it. He wants us to study it. He wants us to proclaim it. And when the Lord returns in judgment we will be able to see the return on our investment. We will stand among the saints in heaven. We will sing with the angelic choirs. But even now, even before that day comes, God allows us to see the gospel at work. Let me give you a couple examples...

Next Sunday a new adult Bible class will begin between services. In addition to this class and our Bible Information Class and our Sunday Bible School classes our church offers opportunities for spiritual growth almost every day of the week. And that doesn't even include the daily devotions and religion classes in our Lutheran elementary school and preschool. 

Why do we invest so much time and energy in Bible study? Why do we devote so many of our precious resources to Christian education? What is the purpose? As we study God's Word we grow in faith. And as we grow in our own faith, we also grow in our desire to share the gospel with others.

Last week two members of St. Matthew's, Pastor Larry Schlomer and Peg Thiele, returned from a trip to Africa. This wasn't a vacation for them. They didn't travel halfway around the world to experience an African safari. They went to visit some of our world missions. They went to encourage our world missionaries. They have pictures to share and stories to tell, and for all the blessings God has given us there are even more opportunities. 

Why do we send missionaries overseas? Why do we give offerings to fund mission work around the world? Why are we always looking for new ways to expand our work into other part of the world? To share the saving gospel with more and more people.

Because the day of judgment is coming, the Lord wants us to work faithfully, to be students of his Word, to be sharers of his Word, to be good stewards of this priceless gift. And where the Lord finds faithful service he promises great reward.

We probably won't be put in charge of any cities, but that's okay because God promises to give us something even better. As we grow in God's Word and go with God's Word, the Lord strengthens our faith. Faith makes us God's children. Faith takes away the fear of judgment. Faith gives us the absolute certainty that when we die we will live forever in heaven.

That's the good news. That is good news for all of God's faithful servants. But the news isn't all good in the parable of the minas. Jesus also issues a stern warning against living selfishly.

Luke tells us that some of the citizens of the country didn't want this nobleman to be made king. They even sent a delegation to plead their case against him. But it didn't do any good. And when the king returned, he ordered that they be executed in his presence.

Those rebellious citizens represent unbelievers. That much is clear. The faithful servants represent believers. That is fairly obvious. But what about the other servant in the parable? Where does he fit in? Let's take a closer look...

The servant came to his master 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'" (20,21).

This servant wasn't like the others. This servant didn't put his mina to work like the others. The only thing he did was offer excuses, and the king saw right through them. "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'" (22,23)?

If the master was really that harsh, why didn't the servant put his mina to work? If the servant was really afraid, why didn't he do absolutely everything in his power to avoid the king's wrath?
The master knew why. The servant didn't make use of his gift because he didn't appreciate it. And so the king took his mina away.

If a group of people decided to act out this parable, I am guessing that the role of this servant wouldn't be the most popular. No one wants to be called lazy. No one wants to be labeled as unfaithful. But are there times in our lives when we unwittingly assume this role?

"I don't have time for Bible class. Isn't that what church is for? I can't make time for personal Bible study. I have too much to do already."

"Let me get this straight. You want me to pay school tuition AND increase my regular giving. My family has enough trouble making ends meet the way it is."

"I'm not very comfortable talking about my faith. What if I don't know what to say? What if I am asked questions I can't answer? Instead of saying the wrong thing, wouldn't it be better for me to say nothing?"

I understand that we all have many different responsibilities. I understand that money doesn't grow on trees. I understand that sharing your faith is not always easy. And so does God. Jesus didn't tell this parable to burden you with unnecessary guilt, but maybe some of the guilt is deserved.

We are all Christians, right? We trust in God, right? Right after this sermon we will confess our faith in the triune God, but do we always put our mina where our mouth is? Do you always put God's Word to work in your life, or do you sometimes make excuses?

Let me answer for you. No, you don't always give the gospel the honor and respect it deserves. And I don't either. We let dust settle on our Bibles. We allow other things to crowd God out of our lives. We live selfishly, and because we live to serve ourselves, God has every right to take his precious gift away.

And yet there are still Bibles in our churches and our homes. That hasn't changed. There are still promises in those Bibles. And God's promises haven't changed. A few days after Jesus told this parable, he went to Jerusalem to sacrifice his life for the sins of the world, to die on the cross to take away your sins and mine. That is a historic fact that will never change. After three days he rose from the dead to declare his victory over death. That is a miraculous truth that can never be changed. And on the Last Day Jesus will come again. He will come to judge the world and take us to heaven, and we will all be changed. Amen.

Our Mission Statement:

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.


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9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

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St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066




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