Luke 19:11-27 (Parable of the Ten Pounds)
In Luke chapter nineteen Jesus was getting close to Jerusalem and there were people with Him who thought the Kingdom of God was going to soon appear (19:11). So, Jesus told them this parable about seizing the opportunity to accept what the Lord invests in us of His resources and to diligently work at using those resources for His profit to the best of our ability.
In verse twelve of Luke chapter nineteen is the simple outline of God’s plan about the kingdom, “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return” (19:12).
Leaving His Servants
A man leaves his servants in charge of a portion of His wealth while he leaves to go to a distant country to be appointed King and then he would return. He calls his ten servants and gives them ten pounds. He tells them to put this money to work for me, “Occupy till I come” (19:13).
The Charge: “Occupy Till I Come”
Their Master leaves them and now they have great work to do. When he parted he gave them each a pound, not to use for personal enrichment, not to hoard away, not to hide and never use for the Master’s profit, no he told them to “Occupy till I come” – all Christians have business to do for Christ in this world.
It is not difficult for us to draw parallels between this parable and Jesus Himself. Jesus was the one who would leave in order to become a king. We are the servants in the parable who are vested with what belongs to Him and for which we have responsibility and accountability.
We, as Christians, are sent forth to spread the gospel, to share the gospel, to live out the gospel, to preach the gospel, to set up churches for Christ, to bring nations to the obedience of faith, to build up and disciple new believers, we are called to be busy occupying till He comes. For those He gives resources, gifts, and blessings to, He expects service from.
Until He comes, we have the responsibility to put to use the resources He has entrusted us with. We who now live in this New Testament age are like the ten servants occupying for the Nobleman, our Master, while He has gone to Heaven, occupying until He shall return.
The amount and nature of those resources the Master gives will vary from person to person, but when He returns we will be accountable for what we have done with what we have had, regardless of the amount or type of resource.
The amount that was given to each servant is not the important part of this parable, but what was done with what was given to them is. Everything we have, including life itself, is a gift from God that is given to us to be used for godly purposes and not to be squandered or squirreled away.
The mere fact that we are taking care of something that belongs to another is the recognition that we have nothing in and of ourselves, everything we have is given to us. We are therefore stewards and not owners, we are caretakers of the Masters gifts. What have you done with the gifts the Lord has seen fit to bestow upon you? Can you say as Paul stated in Acts 20:20 “I kept back nothing…” or are you keeping back parts of your life, are you not using the gifts the Lord has given you profitably for His service? Are you a profitable servant or are you hiding your gifts from the world, are you helping to advance His kingdom, or are you on the sidelines just watching the other servants trying to do their part and your part? What kind of servant are you?
Reckoning and Rewards
There were those in the parable who did not like the idea of the man returning to be their king (19:14). But when he did return as king, he called the servants in order to find out what they had gained (19:15) with the pounds he had given them. One had gained ten more (19:16), and another had gained five more (19:18). To each of them, the king gave a corresponding number of cities for them to take charge of.
The First Servant
One servant had so used the money given him that he had gained ten pounds and the nobleman who had now become king said, “Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities” (19:17), that is the daily handling of some money for his lord would pale in comparison to the privilege he would now have of ruling ten cities. What we do now for the Lord, what service we do, what trials we endure, what ridicule we face, all will be nothing compared to the rewards we will get in glory for our faithful service today.
The Second Servant
The second servant’s pound gained five pounds and the nobleman, now king, said, “Be thou also over five cities” (19:19). Now we must emphasize a principle we were just taught in this parable and that is eternal blessedness and usefulness of a Christian in Heaven will depend somewhat on his service on earth. Salvation is free and all alike are saved by the blood of Christ without works by grace alone, but after He saves us, God will reward us for our service also.
The Third Servant
The third servant returned the pound that was originally given to him, having squandered all opportunity to do anything with it. He told the king he kept it hidden away, no one ever saw it, it was never used in any way to bring profit to the king (19:20). He said he did so because he was afraid of the king, “because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow” (19:21). Does not the nobleman, now king, have a right to expect some return on his investment in his servant though?
Has God given you certain talents and abilities and are you using them for Him? Or are you perhaps too scared, or too nervous, or too shy, or too (fill in the blank) to use them for Him? Are you keeping them back from Him and from service for Him? Be a Paul and determine to say with a clear conscience “I kept back nothing”!
The response of the King was to take the pound from the third servant and give it to the one that was given ten pounds. The king said, “That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him” (19:26). Jesus reinforced the principle expressed earlier that if you are trustworthy with a few things, you will be considered trustworthy with more. Further, to do nothing with what you have been given is unacceptable. To do nothing with what you have been given is sinful, and not only that but it is tragic to waste your God-given potential for the Lord and His service. Are you wasting in anyway what the Lord has given you?
What Kind of Servant Are You?
Are you earning rewards today? Are you using what the Master has given you wisely for Him? Will you receive ten cities or will what you have been given be taken from you and given to another? What kind of servant are you right now? Will you make a decision to be a ten city servant today? Will you make a decision to be a “keep back nothing” kind of servant?
The Citizens That Hated Him
This nobleman had an estate and servants. But citizens of the country “hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us” (19:14). Now the parable speaks not of Christians but of those who rejected Christ, and the end promised to Christ-rejecters is tragic. This parable ends with a very sad and tragic pronouncement, “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me” (19:27). Those who will not have Christ to reign over them will be dealt with as His enemies. Whoever will not be ruled by the grace of Christ through salvation in Him, will inevitably be judged for their sins and have to face the wrath of Christ, instead of rejoicing forever more in His love (John 3:17-18 – For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.)
How you choose to use what you have been given will result in a judgment of accountability and reward. Your relationship toward the King, however, will result in a judgment of eternal consequence. The Bible teaches that there will be two judgments. There will be the Judgment Seat of Christ, where believers will be held accountable for the works, or lack thereof, that they have done for Christ. This judgment will be based on the quality of their life’s labors for the Lord (I Corinthians 3:12-15). And there will be the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15), where unbelievers will be cast into the Lake of Fire forever, those that rejected the King and did not want Him to come back, and did not want Him to rule over them.
God has placed things in our hands, and we have opportunity to invest them in ways that will increase to His benefit and our blessing. Whether we think we are gifted with much or little, we are to put what we have been given to use for Him. The opportunity to do something for the Lord with what we have been given by Him needs to be seized and diligently put to good use, or that gift, or that opportunity to use that gift will be taken away.
Our time on this earth is but a vapor the Bible tells us. Consider this challenge, consider the questions that were just asked and if you need to surrender anything to the Lord – jot that down right now and put today’s date on it, and pray right now to the Lord and surrender that to Him. It may be your gift you have kept hidden away and never used for Him, it may be treasure, it may be a talent, whatever the Holy Spirit may have brought to mind seek to be a profitable servant for your Master, seek to hear a well done when you see your Savior face to face. Make a commitment today that you will no longer keep anything back from God. Surrender all to Him, commit all to Him. Keep back nothing from Him!