“Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. Therefore He said: ‘A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’ And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’’”
A Certain Nobleman Went into a Far Country to Receive for Himself a Kingdom
Today we read the Word from the Gospel of Luke chapter 19. The Lord tells us about how He evaluates our life of faith through this passage.
It is written that a certain noble man went into a far country to receive a kingdom. And before he left, he distributed his money to his servants telling them to do business and make a profit with it. That was what the noble master wanted. But as he was leaving after giving away his money to the servants, a crowd said behind his back that they didn’t want the man to become their king. Nonetheless, the master still headed to the far country.
This account refers to the Church and the Lord Jesus Christ. The master entrusted minas to his servants to do business. Likewise, God came down to earth in human form, remitted our sins and saved us from our sins, and He keeps the work of salvation going through His Church. He also gave us talent. In today’s passage the currency is mina, but in other Books of Gospel such as Matthew, ‘talent’ is the equivalent. This ‘talent’ means ability. So this word also means a person who possesses unusual innate ability in some field or activity. Anyway, the word, “talent” originated from the name of the currency in the Bible. Our Lord saved us and gave us talents so that we can live for the gospel and live by faith on earth. He gave us not only faith, but also ability and talent.
Going back to the Scripture, we see some grumbling people who didn’t want the noble man to be their king; regardless of what people think, the Lord came to this earth for us and saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and blessed us with the ability and talent to live by faith. Even though we all received such talents, one or two out of ten didn’t want Jesus to be their king saying, “We will not have this man reign over us” (Luke 19:14). On the other hand, there were people who were serving and following the master. They were faithful in a very little matter that their master entrusted with them as he left for a far place. There were two kinds of people as you can see here.
Likewise our Lord, who is not with us physically, but resides in the hearts of the righteous, will ask us how faithfully we have done our job and He will count our work when He returns to this earth as He promised. He will ask those who have received the remission of sins, “How well have you done My business in this world with the talent, strength and other things I gave you?” Then, we must give an account of our work saying, “I have done this and that with the talents and gifts I received from You.” Everybody will have to sum up his or her work. We will all report to our Master, “You gave me this much, and I did this and that.”
One of the ten servants boldly took out his handkerchief and said, “Here is your money,” when he was asked to give his account. He unfolded the handkerchief in front of his master and said, “This is what you gave me when you left, and I kept it in the handkerchief and brought to you as it was.” This servant was one of the disloyal people who didn’t want the noble man to be their king. He was saying, “You are an austere man like a tyrant. You only gave me one mina and expected me to make a profit. I am not a gang member and I don’t like you.” He might have thought to himself that he should return exactly what he was given. There was the money in the handkerchief. And he said, “Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow” (Luke 19:20-21). He boldly said to the Lord that He collects what He didn’t deposit, and reap what He did not sow.
And the master said, “Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?” (Luke 19:22-23) The servant considered the master as a very unfair master, who didn’t give him much, but still tried to get much out of him. He complained that his master tried to reap what He did not sow. He thought, “Gosh, how am I supposed to make a profit with nothing basically? What kind of man is this? I didn’t want this man to become my king from the beginning.” While everybody was given one mina, he kept the money in a handkerchief and returned it to his master when he came back. In his mind, he didn’t do anything wrong. He did what he thought was right. He gave his account shamelessly and said, “You are a very stern man, and you are trying to reap what you did not sow and get what you don’t deserve.”
The Lord Told His Servants to Slay the Man
“Bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me” (Luke 19:27). The Lord told them to kill those enemies in front of Him. The judgment on this shameless servant has great significance to both those who received the remission of sins and those who haven’t. We need to meditate this passage at least once in our life, and we must check our own faith by examining whether we have such a mindset as that of the evil servant or not. We should contemplate if the Lord really asks us to do something that is beyond our ability, if He really didn’t give us anything, and whether He is a good King or a bad King. We ought to find out if we have such complaints towards Him.
When we see things with eyes of faith, there is nothing that is not from the Lord no matter whether we are born again or not. All creatures are what God made and gave to us. We are helpless on our own if God decides to look away and leave us alone even for a short period of time. Human beings are such weak creatures that even a minor bacterial infection can kill us. These days the flu is an epidemic, and throughout the history some hundreds of millions of people have died from the flu virus. There were times when millions of people and even ten million died of the flu in a year. Even as we speak, there are people dying of flu, and Jacob disease, which is originated from mad cow disease; people do not know how the disease was carried into human bodies, but there are countless people who get infected by the disease. Once they get infected, the whole body becomes stiff and unable to move; some people have a sudden spasm and die within a year. Human beings are such weak creatures. If God decides to take our life over night, we can’t do anything about it; if God makes some changes in the climates and lowers the temperature down to 22 degree Fahrenheit below zero (40 degree Celsius below zero), we will all be frozen to death; if God raises the temperature up to 110 degree Fahrenheit (43 degree Celsius) or above, we will all die from the heat.
We are all helpless people without God. God has adjusted the temperature right for us so that we can live; God also has given us everything on earth for our needs. What you have is all talent; even the ability to move your hands and fingers is talent. So is the ability to walk. Do you know how many people there are who have two legs but cannot walk? You will be surprised. And our health is also God’s gift. The ability to make money is gift as well.
Not all people have this gift to make money. As you all know, there are so many homeless people and even big companies file bankruptcy. Many CEOs of large corporates become bus boys at restaurants. Not to mention our country, there are people like that all over the world. All of those people lost their talents. They fall behind in the world of competition. We see many such people everyday.
After all we should know what we have is from God. God gives and takes away. The ability to think is also gift. That is also from God. Do you think we can control our thoughts? Do you believe we can think in whichever way we want? Even our thoughts are under God’s control; if Satan pours weird and unhealthy thoughts into us that we feel as if someone is chasing us with a sharp knife to kill us, or we feel we should kill ourselves, we will face death. Those who commit suicide go through such thoughts. Therefore, we should know that we have healthy thoughts thanks to God. Like this, there is nothing that is not from God. We also should know that nothing will be left when God takes away everything He has given us. We should acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the owner of everything.
Brothers and sisters, who is your master? It is God, Jesus Christ, who saved us. He is our God and our Savior. What is He to us? He is our Master and King. Even though He is the Creator, God, the Master of all life and talents. There are people who refuse to serve Him as their King. We should not be like them. We must acknowledge Him as our King and serve Him. What happens to those who do not recognize Him as their King? They become broken. There are so many beggars. Even in the advanced countries such as the U.S., in the United Kingdom, especially in France you can see many beggars. In the Italy, where the famous coliseum stands and the city of Vatican is. You might think that people there live a very comfortable life since they have famous historical sites. However, most European countries have numerous beggars and places are not so good for living. I heard that France is the haven of pickpockets. When they see tourists count their cash, they follow the tourists and mug them in covert places. They would do so even for small amounts of money equal to US $20. If you don’t give them money right away, you are in trouble. Travel agencies always warn their clients not to take any cash, and in case of taking some cash without much choice and getting robbed, to give their cash away as quickly as they can; otherwise their lives will be endangered or even killed.
I heard that there are a lot of beggars in Europe. Japan also has a lot more beggars than we can imagine; so, some Japanese make a joke that the beggars don’t even catch a cold. What I want to stress is that we can become penniless at any moment when God doesn’t help us. Whether or not you are born-again, those who do not acknowledge Jesus as King will go penniless.
Brothers and sisters, you can see a swarm of homeless people at the Seoul Train Station on TV. The government built shelters and lodges where they can sleep and eat, and referred them to employers. The government also has them serve public deities. Among those homeless people there are quite a few decent people. Some people used to run small companies. A lot of them are college graduates and some people even have doctorate degrees. Things we cannot understand happen all the time around the community. Some homeless people cannot believe what happened to them. They never planned to live such a wretched life, but they were forced to live on streets like that. Rich people and family men lost their jobs all of a sudden and go bankrupt; therefore they cannot bring the bacon home and they don’t have courage to go back to their family and so they stay on the streets. Just like this, there are so many homeless people in our country.
Therefore, you have to keep in mind that those who do not acknowledge Jesus as King will be deprived of everything they have, not to mention becoming homeless people or beggars. The master said to those who stood by, “Take the mina from him and give it to him who has ten minas” (Luke 19:24). When the servant with ten minas said, “I already have ten minas,” the master, who was now a king, said, “Everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him” (Luke 19:26). That was what the king thought and commanded.
What does this parable tell us? It tells us that acknowledging the King for who he is will bring us a great favor. On the other hand what happens to those who do not acknowledge king as king? The Lord says that even what they have is too much for them to have. Even the most basic ability, and general blessings are more than they deserve.
Do you think the king is cold-hearted? Is he really merciless and heartless? You might think that way, but what would you have done if you were the king or the master? Wouldn’t you feel like taking away everything from the servant of yours, who didn’t acknowledge you as his master? You will feel that way. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, gave us life, saved us from sins, delivered us from hell and destruction, and entrusted us with so many talents. I bet you all have talents. Whether you believe in Jesus or not, the physical talents and thoughts are given by the Lord. There is nothing that is not from Him. Everything is from Him. Would it then be proper for us not to acknowledge such a gracious Lord as our King? It cannot be proper. The same thing holds true to unbelievers.
Besides, how are those unbelievers when they have been disloyal to the Master? Those who do not believe in God will die right away, but how about those who believe in God? How about those who received the remission of sins by believing in what Jesus Christ has done? What happens to those who do not serve Jesus as King even though they have received the remission of sins through Jesus? How would the King treat those people who don’t acknowledge Him? He would take all that they have. He would take everything from them and give to those who already have much. The Bible has so many similar examples.
In King David’s days, there was a rich man named Nabal living in Israel. He was a man of great wealth in the area raising cattle and farming as well. David had helped the man a lot. David found out that a gang of bandits often came down killing people and robbing them in that area. So he sent his army to protect the people including Nabal. But when the man looked down on David, he died right away. After he died, his wife Abigail went with David. She was a woman who served David as her king. When her husband died, she ran to David as fast as she could. From the perspective of morality, what she did seems wrong. We might guess she had hated her husband so much; anyway this is an example. Similar things as this happened a lot to those who did not acknowledge their king as king.
Is Jesus Christ Our King?
Is Jesus our King or not? Jesus Christ is our King. He gave us everything around us even before we were born again. Didn’t He? Yes, He is still giving. He is the King, who gives everything to us. Then what are those who do not serve Him as King or attend Him in their hearts? Those people are no different than those who are not born again. They will not only become penniless but also die spiritually.
Even those who are not born again sing carols around Christmas, “Noel, Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel.” How did our human history start? It started from Jesus Christ. The English word, ‘history’ proves it. Human history is ‘His story’. What is the dominical year we all use based on? It is based on the time of the birth of Jesus. When did He come to this earth? Historians studied it and set it as a reference point for years, which we use nowadays. This one factor shows us clearly that Jesus Christ is the Master of this universe. Even not-yet-born-again people think and believe so. There is nothing wrong about this.
Every creature has death, gets buried somewhere and awaits resurrection. However, there is no grave for Jesus. He doesn’t need one. Death is waiting for all the creatures, but not for Jesus, who doesn’t have a grave. Jesus is the One, who created everything, manages and administers His creation. ‘Jesus’ means the Savior, and ‘Christ’ means the King. We call Him Jesus Christ. This means our King became our Savior.
Those who received the remission of sins cannot help but to acknowledge Jesus as their King. Why is that? Who cannot serve the One who saved them from death, sins, destruction, and the Devil as their King since Jesus bestowed such a wonderful grace? If they don’t serve Jesus as their King even though they know this truth, they are crazy. They are absolutely stupid. If those who are not born again do not acknowledge Jesus as King, it is rather forgivable; but how are those who were born again but still do not serve Jesus as their King? They are really idiots.
If they do not serve Jesus as their King, who else can be their king? Can you find any king whom you respect, admire and follow, who can really help you and lead you the right way? Wouldn’t that be nice to have a certain king one like that? As a matter of fact, is there anybody other than Jesus Christ who can deserve the kingship over us? No, there isn’t. I am not forcing you to serve Jesus as your king. I want you to contemplate if there is anyone other than Jesus Christ who is worthy of our service to king. In today’s Scripture passage, the servant who didn’t acknowledge his master as his king was deprived of everything and was killed.
The Bible doesn’t contain anything that is not important and every line is the Word of life. This is not just a story. Today’s passage especially is true to everyone, whether he is born again or not. Those who are not born again yet, but acknowledge Jesus as King will accept the truth when someone delivers the message of God if they have understanding. They will eventually come into the household of God and Jesus Christ. Why? It is because he acknowledged Jesus as his King.
Then what happens to those who do not acknowledge Jesus as their King? Everything will be taken away from them and they will be killed. I believe it will come true as it is written. That is why we, the born-again Christians, should have the attitude to acknowledge Jesus as our King more than anything else. I am not being unreasonable here, am I? Is He not our King? Jesus Christ is the King to those who are born again. He is our Master. He is the Master, who always gives us everything and the Savior who saved us from all sins. Do you believe this?
Thanks to our King, we can live and we have the desire to live. And everything we have is given by our King, Jesus Christ; if He decides to take away what we have, we will be left hopeless and helpless.
We are truly weak and insufficient. No matter what happens, the fact that Jesus is our King doesn’t change forever and ever. As we look back over our past one year, there were a lot good things as well as bad things happened; and there is one thing that has never changed in our heart. That is the fact that Jesus Christ is our King. We are glad and thankful that Jesus Christ has helped His people and took care of us as our King.
I can say boldly that I have no regrets in serving Him as my King and I have never had a second thought about Him. It is because He is truly our King, our Shepherd, who protects us, leads us to the best and blessed way. As we welcome a New Year, I know He will provide us with everything we need. He will allow us everything according to our needs. We should not change this thought. If you have not served Him as your King; if you refused to acknowledge Him as your King, you have to admit your evil way and acknowledge Him as your King even from now on. I strongly believe that He will always help you once you acknowledge Him as your King and come to Him asking for His advice and help. Jesus Christ is the King. He is the King who is with us. He is the King and will be our King till the day this earth ends and till the days when we go to Heaven. Of course, He is also the King to those who are not born again.
Brothers and sisters, we came to know our King, Jesus Christ. Somehow we came to know Him, met Him personally through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, became His people, became residents in His Kingdom, and started to do His work. Those who are doing the royal work for the King, receive special talents for the work just like the man was given a Mina. It is said that those who work for the King, will dine with Him, and He will dine with them. When we do His work, He will take care of us, meet our needs and bless us. Those who are the workers of God’s Kingdom are truly blessed. Since they are dedicated to the King’s work, the King takes full responsibility to guide them and protect them.
Do not think that showing kindness to people, serving the Lord, and doing His work as waste of your time. Do not think like the servant who kept one Mina in a handkerchief and brought it back to the master, saying, “You are an austere man. You are trying to reap what you did not sow.” If you give your heart and serve Him, He will pay you back multiple times. He is the most generous giver, and He does not fail to reward us for our serving Him. He is not a miser. He is not a creature, either. When we receive ability and strength from Him to do everything, can we become stingy in serving Him with what we are given in return?
As we pass the end of this year, we need to ask ourselves if we acknowledged and treated Jesus as our King for the last year. If we haven’t, we can make our New Year’s resolution to serve Him sincerely and faithfully as our King. Everything needs to be authorized by God; unless He approves, there is nothing we can do. We serve God and live our life with what God has given us. We also enjoy the things God has given us.
Again, the Master of our life is not us but Jesus Christ. He is our King. However, we often have an illusion that we are the kings of ourselves. Our life becomes miserable when we try to take His place and become the master of our own life. Things then do not go well either. But what happens when the real Master becomes our King? Our life becomes richer. Why is that? The King Himself is rich, so He blesses us to become rich-hearted in doing good work and to do much of God’s work with physical and spiritual blessings from Him. Since Jesus Christ is our King, I hope you will treat Him with all your heart, even though our physical bodies are always weak. I believe you are thinking the same thing.
Let us live a meaningful life year after year. Let’s look back and see how much we acknowledged Jesus as our King; if we haven’t done enough, let us make up our mind to serve Him right as our King and do it faithfully. I pray that God will give us desire to serve Jesus Christ as our King for our entire life. It is the source of life and blessings. I am telling you this because the heart that is submissive to the King Jesus Christ makes our life blessed. We are insufficient in many ways, but I want you to place Jesus Christ at your heart’s throne and to work for Him only.
I hope in your New Year you will communicate with God effectively so that we make good money to serve Him, to do His work, and to live an influencing life. I pray that God will give such blessings abundantly to us, His servants, the Church, the body of Christ.