The Return Of The King 1 — He Expects Returns
Chan Gin Kai
While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
“But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’
“He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. (Luke 19:11-15)
As Jesus was nearing Jerusalem, the people expected him to establish a physical kingdom at once. So, Jesus told a parable about himself. The nobleman in the parable refers to Jesus, who has left this world, but will return in glory as King one day.
He Expects Returns
Just before he left, the nobleman instructed his servants to grow his coffers and he entrusted each of them with some money to invest. When he returned, he called his servants “to find out what they had gained with it.” He expected to return, and he expected returns.
A servant serves. We cannot call ourselves servants of Jesus and think we are not required to serve. “I am the servant of the King, let me dwell in his presence, let me bask in his glory, but serve him? Nah.” And then we create excuses, “He is a benevolent King and loves his people, I’m sure he’ll forgive me for not serving him.” But that’s exactly why Jesus wants us to serve him, because he loves his people. As his servants, we are called to serve his people and grow his kingdom.
When the nobleman returned as king, he assessed what each servant did. Let’s not fool ourselves; we know we will have to give an account to our King. How will we measure up?
Jesus expects to return, and he expects returns.
More Than Generous
“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.’” (Luke 11:16-19)
The nobleman-turned-king was more than generous. He gave a really huge reward to this servant for “been trustworthy in a very small matter.”
It wasn’t mentioned whether the king gave them minas of silver or minas of gold. A mina is close to 500 grams. So 10 minas of silver is worth about USD3,677 today, while 10 minas of gold is worth about USD293,657.
By either count, governorship of 10 (or of five) cities for producing that kind of returns was far more than these two servants deserved. It wasn’t the results that the king was interested in, but the trustworthiness. The returns merely reflected how trustworthy the servants were. How trustworthy am I in the eyes of Jesus?
Jesus will generously reward those among us who prove trustworthy.
Punishment For Disobedience
“Then another servant came 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.’
“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?’
“Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’
“‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’
“He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”
Another servant did nothing at all, and the king was understandably incensed. The king asked him why he didn’t simply put the money in deposit so that there would be some interests. It would not have taken much effort or skills for the servant to do that.
The real reason was plain and simple; this servant wilfully disobeyed the king. The king wasn’t the “hard man” that this servant had accused him of. I doubt if the servant really believed his own excuse either, because if he did, he would have done something with the money.
We give irrational excuses when we choose to disobey God. In fact, we often make up wrong beliefs about Him. We may even accuse Him in return.
God can be more than generous, and yet rightfully punish those who defy Him. They’re not mutually exclusive. Let’s not be deceived by fake gospels that preach only about God’s unlimited grace and abundant blessings, but ignore His expectation of trustworthiness and obedience. This is an example of wrong beliefs that people create to justify their disobedience.
Our King will return, and when he does, I’ll want him to say to me, “Well done, my good servant!”
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves actively in the Central Christian Church and describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.