Jesus' Parable of 10 Minas in Luke 19:12-27 is “loaded.” I pray that God opens our minds to understand, and our hearts to receive, it. Would you agree that v12 portrays Jesus’ ascending to the Father to receive His Kingship, after which He will return? The John 14:2-3 thing? Let’s assume that.
The treasure of the Life of the Kingdom of God is birthed within those who are born again. We all get the same amount, and Jesus expects us to multiply it in others according to our gifting and calling.
Some won’t be able to “grow” their Mina as much as others, but that’s beside the point. The point is that all who are born again have been entrusted with the gift of relationship with Father God, and He wants to reach others through His Presence in us.
The one who hid his Mina in a piece of cloth is like one who tries to be “a good Christian” but feels no responsibility to invest his Mina for the king. He might read the Bible through every year, or have rigorous disciplines or practices, abstain from “bad” sins, dress in a certain way and/or forgo certain niceties, but The Good News doesn’t seem good enough to him, to pass it on to others.
The Good News is BIG!
Acts 26:18 and Col. 1:13-14 describe some of what happens when we are born again. Take them literally. Savor them.
Elaine and I served in Kenya for much of 1990-97. We spent three months there followed by three months here - - back and forth four times a year. We drive on the right side of the road here, they drive on the left side of the road. When you’re in Kenya you do as the Kenyans do. Or else.
There are cultural distinctives to be observed in each place, and words which have different (and sometimes awkwardly so) meanings. We had different governments too, each with their peculiar laws and their ways of enforcing the law. (Don’t ever get caught taking a photo of a policeman there.)
We had to humbly and consciously conduct ourselves accordingly, when we switched from one “kingdom” to the other. Read Acts 26:18 and Col. 1:13-14 again and ask yourself how well the Church is living out the expectations of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom whose life and culture is so very different from that of the world. Are we truly "of" a different kingdom?
Saved for What?
We are not saved so we escape hell when we die. We are saved so we can glorify God (over Satan) by entering into Abundant Life now; by living in a way that He can offer His Life to others through us; - - and then finally by entering into His presence forever. We tend to focus on the “eternal” part of “Eternal Life,” thinking of it as something future.
A key word there is “Life,” which begins when we are born again and continues forever. We’ll talk about that a lot on this blog and you’ll hear me say repeatedly that living for God is the most rewarding and fulfilling way to live. It’s “The good life.” It’s win-win-win - for God, for us now, and for us forever.
The word “life” in John 3:16, John 10:10 and elsewhere is the little but powerful Greek word Zoe, meaning abundance, fullness - - the Life of God Himself that is imparted to us when we are reconciled to Him (John 17:3) and Christ takes up residence within us. I am awestruck by Col. 1:26-27: “the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” kjv
Imagine that. Picture that. Believe that. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” That is the mina-Life that is given to all who believe, repent, and follow Jesus. That truth and its implications appear to remain hidden from many who call themselves a Christian.
A Slave – You’re Kidding!
The troublesome word “slaves” in v13 is the Greek doulos, Strongs 1401, which means “someone who belongs to another; a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own.” Okay, so why then do most translations make it “servant?” You surely know why!
In our human pride we’d like to think of ourselves as being above slavehood - - at the very least a servant but even that grinds us. We conveniently forget that we are a slave of Satan by default if we are not a slave of God by choice. We humans never rule ourselves. We are always under the power of a spirit kingdom and there are only two options. See Romans 6:16-19.
Paul speaks of himself as a doulos of Christ. (Rom. 1:1, II Cor. 4:5) We are called to be that as well (Mt. 10:24), and it is applied strongly to leaders in Mt. 20:25-28. However, also consider Jesus in John 15:15 and Paul in Gal. 4:7! Jesus modeled doulos for us. (Philip. 2:7)
We are not our own, we are bought with a price. (I Cor. 6:19-20) We are not free to do whatever we want. Jesus became a slave for God’s purpose of offering us Eternal Life, and He commissioned us to follow Him. We have a different part but it’s all according to God’s plan. See also John 20:21, and John 17:18 where Jesus said: "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." kjv
This whole Christian thing is purpose driven. God’s will and His purposes are to be our Mt. 6:22-23 “eye” in life. (See Mt. 6:19-34) They become our agenda regardless of where we are or what we do in life. It was so for Jesus (Mt. 26:39-42, John 4:34, John 5:19, John 5:30 and John 6:38) and it must be so for us.
Life for His followers is characterized by a compelling passion to express our love for and gratitude to God by offering ourselves as His slaves so that He can make Himself known to others through us. “The Church,” whether gathered or scattered, is the spiritual body comprised of all who love God and are about His business. Today’s church seems to have largely missed that point.
Called to Give Account
As in v15 in the parable, we will all give account to the King. Consider Romans 2:6, Romans 14:10-12 and 2 Corinthians 5:10. We will give account for our priorities in life, but also for our words (Matthew 12:36-37), for the secrets of our hearts (Romans 2:16), and for our motives (I Cor. 4:5) - all of which influence our ability to multiply the mina entrusted to us.
Gratefully, we know that the believer does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 3:18, John 5:24).
Only those who are alive in Christ will be safe in that day, but to be alive in Christ implies being a faithful steward of our mina. Jesus said that if we love Him we will obey Him (John 14:15, John 14:21-24, I John 5:3), and to obey Him requires that we actively carry out the work that He entrusted to us while He was away. There is no good option.
Now, v14 is important. All 28 translations there use the word “hate,” a strong word which, in my mind, expresses intense negative feelings toward, and strong rejection of the object of our hatred. Maybe snakes or some food that your mother made you eat. However, if you look into Strongs 3404 you will see that it also says, “to love someone or something less than someone (something) else, i.e. to renounce one choice in favor of another.”
Churchgoers might feel safe with the word “hate” there because we know we don’t hate Jesus in the really dark way, even if we actually love Him less than we love “the world and the things of the world?” Might we try to love Him as Savior yet hate Him as King?
These are very special days in history as God moves us toward making the fulfillment of Rev. 7:9 possible. He invites us to be part of what He is doing but it will cost us something.
The Kingdom of God is like leaven (Mt. 13:33) but it must be mixed into the dough. It is like finding treasure hidden in a field (Mt. 13:34), or finding a pearl of great value (Mt. 13:45-46), but it “costs” you to get it. It is like a dragnet (Mt 13:47-50), which is useless unless you become a fisherman. And words like Luke 9:57-62 are to be taken seriously.
The thing that we will be strictly judged for is the degree to which we have consciously given ourselves as servant/slaves to God, not how “good” we’ve been. Our most compelling ambition and conscious goal is to be living for His purposes. Dying to self-rule, taking up our cross daily (Luke 9:23-26) so that others might know Him too. Don’t we often get things backwards, i.e. trying to be good enough to get into heaven while living for ourselves? What are you doing with your mina?
It’s time to get serious, and coming alongside God’s people in this challenging Day is what 10minas.net is about. Luke 19:27 is serious and the gentle Jesus whom we so cherish will be wearing a different hat in that moment.
Ken Stoltzfus, Kidron, OH
June 8, 2020
About Ken Stoltzfus
Ken Stoltzfus was born in Parkesburg, PA in 1940, son of the late Chris D. Stoltzfus, of Coatesville, PA. Chris was a pioneer crop duster and aircraft parts entrepreneur in the east.
In 1960 Ken married Elaine Beiler, his high school sweetheart, and together they raised three sons. Ken Jr. passed away in July 2011 following emergency brain tumor surgery, and Brian joined him in the Presence of Jesus in January 2019 after an airplane accident. Mark oversees the family’s several aviation enterprises.
For most of his life Ken has been driven by a passion to partner with God in His work. In 1967 he and Elaine left the family business in PA, to prepare for whatever God had for them in the future. Ken earned a B.S. in Business Administration/Management from Eastern Mennonite College in 1972, and attended seminary part time from 1972-74.
In 1974 he and Elaine headed out to Ohio with their family to assume the pastorate in a Mennonite church. Most of his time from then until 1987 was invested as an ordained minister in Mennonite and Non-Denominational churches.
In 1982, while between pastoral assignments, Ken started Preferred Airparts, in Kidron, OH, with and for his sons. He turned Preferred over to them in 1985 but continued to do their marketing on a part time basis while serving as a pastor and missionary.
Ken and Elaine invested much of their time in East Africa from 1990-98, teaching church leaders and launching several leadership training efforts. They subsequently served a local Christian school in Ohio by heading up a capital campaign, and helped design and implement a small group ministry in their home church at the time.
They now reside in a condo community in Kidron. They have nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandsons. The family is shown here at Ken & Elaine’s 60th wedding anniversary celebration in Dec. 2019. An 11th boy was added to the tribe in May, 2020.
Ken did commercial flying, and flight instructing for many years but hung up his headset following a heart attack in Aug. 2015. Most of his time is now invested in writing for his websites and this blog, and in mentoring relationships.
Please contact Ken with your thoughts or questions! Ken Stoltzfus, P.O. Box 228, Kidron, OH 44636 USA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org