Broken toys, emptied soap bottles, and lost valuables have prompted my wife and me to teach our children the biblical concept of stewardship. We remind them that things are not free, and we can’t merely replace every item that breaks or is lost. We have a responsibility to properly dispense of the goods and the gifts with which we’ve been entrusted, no matter how big or how small.
Consider the parable of the ten minas recorded in Luke 19. As they were approaching Jerusalem, Jesus told His disciples a parable involving ten servants who were each entrusted with one mina by their master who departed to receive a kingdom in a distant country. In the parable, the nobleman entrusts men with gifts to make use of and to be collected upon the nobleman’s triumphal return. Recorded are three servants who report to their master when he returns. Two of them put their minas to good use and procured a profit for their master, prompting a reward:
The first came before him, saying, “Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.” And he said to him, “Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.” And the second came, saying, “Lord, your mina has made five minas.” And he said to him, “And you are to be over five cities.” (Luke 19:16–19)
The third merely stashed his away, adding no value to his gift (v. 20), and received the sharpest rebuke: “Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?” (v. 23). These contrasting responses demonstrate the master’s expectations with regard to the use and outcome of the servants’ derivative authority.
This parable, like most, reveals something about the kingdom of God. In particular, Jesus discloses His imminent departure from earth upon accomplishing the work that His Father had given Him (John 17). In His ascension, He was to receive a kingdom that won’t be fully consummated until He returns in glory after a period of invisible reign (Heb. 2:2–6). The ascended Lord has given us gifts, and He expects us to be wise in the way we use those gifts so that we might offer Him a profit. Christ’s ascension wasn’t a prolonged vacation. He reigns over all, having received from His Father an eternal and unshakable kingdom (Col. 1:13; Heb. 12:28), and He now dispenses gifts to His people for the good of the church and the renown of His name. Christians, then, enjoy a sober responsibility. We must be highly profitable, putting our gifts to use so as to provide a gain for God, which implies that dispensing of our gifts wisely somehow yields a profit for God’s kingdom.
When the King returns in triumph, He will call us to account for how we’ve used what we’ve been given—our time, our talents, and our treasures. Consider the talents and treasures you’ve been given. How can you put these to use for your Master?