I never noticed it before. Just before Jesus tells this parable about the nobleman and his servants, the Gospel writer notes: “Jesus was near Jerusalem, and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately.” In fact, Luke seems to imply that it is precisely because of these two factors (Jesus about to enter Jerusalem and the people’s perception about the nearness of God’s kingdom), that Jesus chooses to tell this parable.
Let’s take a closer look at this parable in light of these two factors so we might probe what our Lord wants us to understand.
In the parable, before going off to a distant country to establish his kingship, a nobleman calls his servants and gives each ten gold coins. They are expected to use these coins to invest in the nobleman’s kingdom, in essence to make a profit. He tells them to continue working until he returns.
Pondering the Parable
Consider these 3 points:
1. It states that the nobleman’s fellow citizens opposed his kingship. Why didn’t his own people like him? Why was this nobleman a controversial figure? Remember: Jesus is about to enter Jerusalem to begin His Passion. He knows what he is walking into. He enters Jerusalem as a lowly king riding on a colt. He is entering a place where he too knows he will be despised by His very own people. Do I recognize the chaos in the world: the selfishness, the hatred, the division, as a direct opposition to Christ’s kingship? If this nobleman represents Jesus in this parable, then who are His servants?
2. The servants were expected to take what their master gave them and make wise investments, to produce more fruit. That much is obvious. Let us consider that this expectation is because they will be doing so in a hostile environment. Their fellow citizens are against their master. What has Jesus given me? Am I bold about investing what he has given despite the hostile environments in which I may live (i.e., workplace, neighborhood, parish, family life)? Can I say that I have taken what he has given and intentionally used it to expand his Kingdom? Am I working the whole time, waiting for my Lord to return?
3. The 3rd servant was reprimanded for doing nothing. What was the motivation behind his inaction? Fear! He claims that he knows the master is demanding. Fear cannot and is not an excuse from doing the work Christ has for us. What are the fears and excuses that keep me from proclaiming the Gospel of Christ? Are there times I have kept my mouth shut when I needed to speak out? Are there invitations I could have extended, but instead fell silent? Are there situations I should have corrected but worried about others’ perceptions of me instead of my Lord’s desires?
May His Kingdom Come!
Jesus makes His expectations clear. He has given us many gifts. We are to make use of them throughout the entirety of our lives in order to expand His Kingdom. We cannot be hindered by fear. We must be bold risk takers and investors for Christ. How we long to hear our Lord Jesus say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant…Come share your Master’s joy!” Mt 25:23
Let us not lose even one of the many wonderful opportunities Jesus has given us to wisely invest in His Kingdom. Let us labor with great love and courage so that His Kingdom come, and His will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.