“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.’’”
Who Are These People Today?
Based on what we have read today, we are going to think about the righteous judgment of our Lord. I will begin with a hopeful prayer that we will all receive the rewards at the end as the Lord promised.
These days I am busy finishing my books. I believe this is serving the righteous gospel of the Lord, too. Once we start something, it is better to finish it as quickly as we can; but there are times we can’t do so. We are also going to publish the German editions of our third book and the first commentary book on Romans. We will also publish a commentary book on Apostles’ Creed titled, “The Elementary Principles of Christ.” I believe those books will help numerous people around the world to serve the gospel once they are released to the world in different languages.
In today’s passage, Jesus tells His disciples a parable. There are verses saying, “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’” (Luke 19:12-13). And there is a verse saying, “We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14). This parable given by the Lord was meant to give us, that is, God’s Church a precious lesson.
As it is written, the nobleman gave one mina to each and every servant, asked them to make a profit by doing business, left for a far country and came back. Among them, one servant gained ten minas by trading; and another servant earned five minas. But one of the ten servants didn’t do any business but kept the money in his handkerchief. As he handed the money back to his master, he said, “I consider you as an evil man. So I fear you. You try to collect what you did not deposit, reap what you didn’t sow. I have hidden the money in my handkerchief. Just take what you gave me and do not say anything.”
Then what action did the master take? He praised the servant who gained ten minas, and gave him ten as his reward; he complemented the servant who had gained five minas saying he was faithful and the master rewarded him with five cities. But to the servant who kept the money in his handkerchief and gave it back to the master, he said, “Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.”
The man who returned just one mina was the servant who didn’t want the master to be his king. What can we find out through this passage? We can see that there are people who believe in Jesus Christ but do not want Him to be their King. They act the same way as the servant who returned just one mina did and, as a result, they will be punished accordingly.
On the other hand, how about those who trust in Jesus and follow Him as their King? Those people faithfully do businesses and make a lot of profit; as a result, they receive much praise and blessings.
What Do People Think of Jesus When They Do Not Know His Righteousness?
The disloyal servant who returned just one mina didn’t consider Jesus as his King or his God. In other religions such as Confucianism, Hinduism and Buddhism, human beings are the kings. In other words, human being is considered as gods. For example, how is the god of Hinduism? They believe that dying to oneself completely can lead to the awakening of oneself. They get to realize that there is a god within them. That is how they reach supreme enlightenment or Nirvana. That is the highest stage where they empty themselves completely and do not feel any ego. According to them, when they do not feel any human emotions and feelings such as hunger or thirst and when they don’t even have any thoughts, they can reach the stage of god. They argue that those people at the stage of god will be reincarnated into a wealthy family and become a man of virtue who will do a lot of good work for others. They believe that human beings can become gods if they die to their own thoughts and opinions.
While Hinduism focuses on the next world to come, Confucianism emphasizes on the present world. Confucianism is a religion, which pursues the well-being of human beings in the present life; not getting sick, not doing bad things, educating children well and so on are their main concern. Buddhism is similar to Hinduism, and they argue that those who reach the highest enlightenment and become reincarnated right away will be good people. According to them, they can be reincarnated in the next world as a good person and reach the stage of god and do good works for people as long as they pay for their wrong doings of their past world by doing the good works.
The common divider of all these religions is “human-centered ideology.” With those religions, human is the king. Human is the god. And human is the center of everything.
However, Christianity is different. We have the Creator, who made everything including you and me. We believe that we are His creatures, and He came to this world for us, received the baptism, died on the Cross to save all human beings. It is our doctrine that God delivered us from sin, death, destruction, curse and the Devil, and adopted us as His children. Whoever believes in Jesus believes this.
However, there are still so many Christians who are like the disloyal servant who returned just one mina. Even though they know that Jesus is their God and King, they do not want to serve Him as their King. How do they comprehend Jesus in relation to themselves? They think that they are the kings in their heart’s throne and that Jesus appears as a king only when they need help from Him. Unfortunately, there are such people even in our Church. Even among those who are born again by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, some people think the same thing.
When we become born-again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we also receive the remission of sins and the Holy Spirit as a gift; and those who receive the Holy Spirit after receiving the remission of sins become the children of almighty God. Nonetheless, there still are some saints who do not want Jesus to reign over them. Isn’t that a problem? Even such people, however, cannot deny the fact that He also is the King to them. It is because the Lord is the King of all humankind, but some people do not acknowledge the fact.
We Need to Ponder Who Serves Jesus as Their King and Who Doesn’t
How are the people among Christians who do not serve Jesus as their King? They think of Jesus highly, but they cannot give up their egos. Even as they say they believe the Word of God, and they follow God’s will, they have the tendency to get rid of whatever challenges them and hinders them from achieving their goals, since they are the kings to themselves. Those people cannot bend their wills by believing in the Word of God.
People are born with egos. The ego has two sides and the inner side is called self-esteem. Those people like the evil servant have high self-esteem before God. Even after they receive the remission of sins, they cannot be submissive to the King, for they haven’t learned to yield themselves. They cannot obey the Lord. That is why they feel resentful and bothersome when they hear the Lord telling them to do something.
Those who haven’t bent their wills and thoughts, as they would do to break a stick, are all like that. It is all because they do not have Jesus Christ in their heart’s throne. Think about it. If they serve Jesus as their King, why would they have to be so stubborn before Him? Even one word from the King’s mouth solves all the problems. Self-rightness can be broken before the King. I want you to experience this. I hope this will actually happen to you.
As we live out our faith, there are times when we feel like this: “It is hurting my self-esteem, and it is humiliating. This is not a decent human life. I can’t live a life of faith anymore this way, for I can’t live like I am supposed to even though I received the remission of sins.” What is the reason for that? The reason is that we didn’t acknowledge Jesus Christ as our King. We still have not come down from our heart’s throne yet.
Jesus Christ was our King long before we were born. Now we should get down from our heart’s throne and give the seat to Jesus. It is our job to acknowledge Him as our Master, saying, “You are my Lord, my Christ and the Son of the living God. You are My Creator who made me, the Savior who saved me from sins, and You are the Lord who administers my life and death.” But some people still think they are the kings to themselves just like the people in other worldly religions. Since they are the kings to themselves, they do not acknowledge the real King, Jesus Christ.
These people are no different from the disloyal servant who returned just one mina in today’s passage. Then what kind of person should we believers of Jesus Christ become? We must become people who believe in Jesus as our King from our heart. We should be able to bend our wills and our opinions, thoughts and egos, and so on only if our King is pleased with our submission. We may sometimes fall and become stubborn due to our weaknesses; but we need to strive to become humble people who can give up our self-tenacity before our King. When we become such people, we can serve our King sincerely, which leads to blessings and we can live faithful life as workers of God’s righteousness.
When God assigns us His work, work of His Church, we should consider it as our job. Once we think to ourselves, “Since this is our King’s work, this is my work as well,” we can work hard as if it is our own work. Even if we suffer some loss, we can work much more diligently, much more faithfully because the result will belong to me as well as to the King.
Then what happens when we do not receive Jesus as our King? Aren’t there some uneducated people who shake their legs, spitting on the ground? Whoever doesn’t serve Jesus as their King is as insolent as them. They are rebelling against Jesus. They challenge the Lord from their hearts and think, “I am in need indeed, but what a useless talk are You giving to me? You only gave me the salvation, and now You are asking me to give my life to You? That is so sad. It is so pitiful. I should have gone to You for salvation right before my death.” Brothers and sisters, if you are a faithful servant, you will say, “Your Highness, Your grace is so great,” no matter what the King says.
Worldly kings become weak and conscious of their servants’ opinions when their servants challenge the kings; they eventually give up their thrones. However, Jesus is absolutely the almighty King. He is the Creator God, who made the whole universe.
Nonetheless, He doesn’t reign over us with force. He created the universe, saved you and me from all sins, and made us His people. When we challenge Him in spite of the grace of remitting our sins, adopting us as God’s children, Jesus will say, “I saved you so. So I want you to live your life for other people. If you feel thankful for your salvation, share it with others.” What will happen if we keep challenging Him? Even though Jesus has the power to punish us right away, He postpones His judgment till later. And He will call the next person and ask, “I want something done. Could you do it for me?” If the person were a faithful servant, he would take the assignment gladly saying, “Thank you for assigning this work to such an insufficient person.” Jesus gives them more work to do and blesses them greatly.
He also comes back to those who are disobedient. And He would ask, “I am sorry that I couldn’t give the task to you last time. But would you like to do my work this time if I give you another chance?” If he doesn’t take it, Jesus will never visit him again. Whenever Jesus tries to give them some assignments, those people feel annoyed and resistant as if Jesus was going to ask them more than they could handle or He was being too nosy in their work, even though they have received so much from Jesus. Jesus would not punish such people directly. He would place such a disobedient person under the control of His servants thinking, “He also is the citizen of My Kingdom, but he has such a high self-esteem. So, it is better for him to be led by My servants.” He would say to His servants, “Educate him. If you leave him as he is right now, he will eventually rise up against Me, and cause self-destruction, right?”
Those who do not acknowledge Jesus as their King; those who haven’t give up their egos, are bound to challenge Jesus in the end. Therefore, they need to get counsel or be trained to give up their egos and stubbornness for themselves or with the help of others. Challenging his own king despite his citizenship under the king is like becoming a traitor. It is an act of invitation of curse and death. Challenging Jesus once or twice might be condoning, but if you keep challenging for years, you will surely be charged with rebellion. Challenging the king’s authority always brings judgment.
The same is true to our relationship with our God. When we receive the gospel, we should acknowledge and say, “The Word of God is absolutely true.” And after we accept the gospel, we need to become a person who can give up our ego and self-esteem if it is God’s will. Actually, it must hurt when you try to bend your will. Nonetheless, no matter how much pain you have to go through to bend your will, you need to do it without hesitation to become a man of genuine faith.
Brothers and sisters, do you know if you have egos? Can you bend yours? If you can bend it, you are at the stage of being a faithful servant with real enlightenment. There is no use in sitting under a linden tree and chant endlessly, “I sincerely believe in Amitabha.” Silent prayers facing the wall for 10 years won’t do you any good. Only giving up our egos before the Word of God, before the righteous will of God is the way to live our life as the saints of Christ. Such person is a really great and mature person.
Without bending our wills, we cannot become men of character. Those who are not mature, disprove other people’s opinions. When we look at our congressmen, they fight all the time; which happens because they do not yield to their egos. They are supposed to bend their will for the benefit of our country, but they can’t do so in reality. There are not many people who can actually do that.
But who are those who can give up their egos? It is the born-again Christians who can do so. Not by legalism, but by the Word of God they control themselves, bend their wills; they can help his subordinates to do the same and to believe the same thing. We the born-again Christians have no choice but to bend ourselves. The Lord said, “Whoever wants to follow me should deny himself.”
When we walk on a street, we see many branch roads. We cannot take any routes even if they lead to the same destination. Let’s say the Lord tells us to choose the opposite way of what our heart wants. Even if the route looks useless and irrelevant to our journey, we need to give up our opinions if the Lord tells us to do so. Only those who can deny themselves like this are men of character, true servants of Jesus Christ, God’s genuine servants and the faithful men who seek the will of God.
Our life of faith also has many branch roads. Even after we choose one road over the other by obeying God’s will, there may be a forked road ahead of us. Likewise, we should choose the road that our Lord tells us to go to by giving up our own thoughts and strong opinions. We must obey God’s Word. The person who can do so is really a mature person. The person is the man of virtue. Just like the old saying not every strong and husky man can become a general, only those who can deny him can become a man of virtue.
Those who have left the Lord after following Him for some time are the people who couldn’t deny themselves. Instead, they would say to the Lord, “You are a hard man. You are a very unreasonable person. How can you ask for something that you have not given me?” But honestly, didn’t the Lord give us everything? Is it true that the Lord has not given us anything? Did our Lord give nothing to His children? No, it is not true. The Lord gave us sun, air, light and all kinds of grain for us to live comfortably. He gave us things we can eat, drink and everything we need until the day we die. What we have is all from the Lord.
What didn’t we get from the Lord? Nothing. He remitted all our sins. He came to this earth, received the baptism for us, bore all our sins, took the punishment for all our sins, and saved us completely. He made us whole and sinless. And would you still say that we haven’t received anything from Him? What would be a good reason not to bend our will, since we received everything from the Lord? Where can we find a good reason to rebel against God the Almighty?
Some people perceive the world as if what they see is the entire world and, as a result, make their final decisions based on their egos. They feel content with their life and say; “I am good with knowing this much about the world, making this much money, and enjoying my life as I am now.”
However, it is written, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). If we don’t bend our wills before God, who created us, saved us from all sins, provided us with all the food we will eat and drink for lifetime, are we being smart? We should admit our weaknesses and follow the will of God at least, do that which pleases Him.
Unfortunately, people have a tendency to just go forward. In doing things people tend to go straight ahead without looking around carefully. You might have encountered such stubbornness as risking the whole possession in a game. They bet on their life for a big shot, persisting on their own thoughts. They do so despite knowing that they would go penniless sooner or later. We shouldn’t do that before God. God has shown mercy on us and remitted us for all our mistakes and wrongdoings. Didn’t He bear our personal sins and take the punishment vicariously for them? Therefore, we need to serve Him as our King at least. We must acknowledge Him as our King.
These days, there are so many people who are concerned with their self-esteem, singing, “My life belongs to me!” It is like a child who would not let go of the food in his hands even when someone offers better food. Some people try to keep their self-esteem high until they breathe their last breath. They think they are better than others even when they are about to die. Even when they have no food, they would pour tap water into their pot, pretending to cook something so that other people would think they had something to eat. They would put a nice make-up on their face so that they won’t look so pale from hunger. However, we should be honest before God. What can’t He embrace as a King? Nothing.
The disloyal servant, who returned just one mina as it was, said to his master, “You are an austere man. You try to receive without giving first.” Then the master said, “Bring the man here, and slay him before my eyes.” What does this imply? It implies that keeping their egos stubbornly to the end will lead to death no matter whether he is born again or not. He will be deprived of Heaven, the remission of sins, and everything else.
Who should we live for? Regardless of what we do, we should choose to live for our King. We are His people. Catholics are different from us. They live for their church hierarchy. They listen to the Pope and obey him no matter what he says. They would risk their lives if the Pope tells them not to give any sacrifices before their dead ancestors. But they now offer sacrifices before their dead ancestors because their church hierarchy has allowed doing so against the Word of the King Jesus.
But we, Christians, should live for Jesus Christ only. When His Kingdom is complete on earth, we will reign with Him as kings in His Kingdom and enjoy the everlasting life with Him. There are many people who have been wandering around without knowing the truth even in God’s Church. I am sure that they couldn’t give up their egos because nobody taught them about it until today. Now we all know the truth. Then we should at least bend our wills in our hearts even though we may not actually do so 100 %.
When I look around, I can tell who hasn’t yet given up his/her ego. But I pretend to know nothing. For it should be seated in the person’s heart by the Word of God. It is our own job to break away our egos before God’s Word. No one can break our egos instead of us. It must be done by us. There is no exception if we try to follow the Lord.
We all serve Jesus as our King. Isn’t Jesus good enough to be our King? Yes, He certainly is. I hope you won’t live like the disloyal servant who returned only one mina that he had received from his master before his master left. If you can’t become a person like the one who brought back five minas, try to be the man who returned two minas at least. We can all do that, when we break away our egos.
I want you to ponder about yourself right now and give up your egos. You must break away your ego at least once in your life. I hope you can break yourself away, with such faith that professes, “I am nothing before you, Jesus. You are my Savior, my King and my God. There is none like You. You only are my God, my Master who blesses me and who deserves my service. I will follow You only no matter whether I live or die.” Then Jesus will bless you saying, “Since you are good and faithful in a very little matter, have authority over ten cities”
I earnestly pray that we all could become people like the faithful servant who brought back ten minas to his Master, and I pray the Lord will grant us such faith.