#14 ~ The Productivity of the Kingdom

#14 ~ The Productivity of the Kingdom

This is a comparison of the parables in Luke 19:11-27 and Matthew 25:14-30.  The series is working its way through the parables of the kingdom of heaven.  We left off in the middle of the Olivet Discourse.  Because of the similarities between the two parables, it is fitting to examine the Luke parable first because it was spoken first.

Have you ever goofed off on the job?  Have you ever lost your job because an employer went out of business?  When you go to work, do you mainly think of yourself and your paycheck or do you think about your employer and how well they are doing financially?  If you had a good job, would you try your best to make sure your employer didn’t go out of business?

Luke 19:11-27 ~ The Parable of the Nobleman.  The background of this parable is a little different than what we have been studying in the Olivet Discourse.  Jesus tells this parable just before entering Jerusalem.  He knows that some people think He is going to set up His kingdom as a part of Him going to Jerusalem.  He tells them this parable in advance to show them that this is not the case.  He enters Jerusalem in Matthew 21:1-11, teaches for a few days, then He gives the Olivet Discourse to the disciples in Matthew 24-25.  These two parables are probably separated by less than a week.

Luke 19:11 ~ The Occasion.  Why do you think that people thought that the Kingdom of God would appear immediately as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem?

Luke 19:12 ~ The Nobleman.  Look at the nobleman in this verse.  The Greek word is eugenes which is a compound word from eu, meaning good (think of eulogy meaning good word, or euphemism, meaning good sound) and ginomai meaning to become (think Genesis, genes, genetics, and genealogy).  So really this word means someone having good genes, hence a nobleman.  What is going to happen to this nobleman while he is away?

Luke 19:13 ~ His Servants.  This nobleman has ten servants.  He seems to trust them greatly.  They are not his family, but he leaves them completely in charge of his estate while he is gone, giving them even more money to do business until he gets back.  This is in keeping with many other parables that Jesus has told.  This may have been a common practice in that day.  We should try to understand the mindset of living as a servant and always functioning within the confines of your master’s estate.  If you had a family, you raised them to respect your master because all of your sustenance came from him.

**Matthew 21:33 ~ The Parable of the Landowner.  Here the landowner leaves servants in charge of his vineyard, trusting them to give him the profits.

**Matthew 24:45-51 ~ The Parable of the Unfaithful Servant.  The master goes away for an extended period of time leaving his servants in charge.

**Mark 13:34-37 ~ The Parable of the Doorkeeper.  A man takes a far journey and gave authority to his servants, each person serving in their position.

Imagine you are a servant who will be running the estate in your master’s absence.  If you were a servant to someone that you knew would receive an entire kingdom, how would you serve him while he was away?  How would you feel if a future king entrusted you with his riches?  What would you expect in return for your service when the nobleman returned as a king?

Luke 19:14 ~ The Citizens.  Even though the servants were trusted by the nobleman, the citizens of that area hated the nobleman and even sent a message that they did not want him to reign over them.  Who do you think the nobleman represents?  How about the servants?  How about the citizens?

Luke 19:15-19 ~ The Rewards.  Are common servants regularly promoted to the position of governor?  How vast is the kingdom that the nobleman received?  Is there a correlation between how hard the servants worked for their master and the reward that they received?  Do you think when they saw the reward and the authority they were given in the kingdom, that they regretted not working harder while he was away?  Can you imagine working hard with a crew of 10 guys for someone who becomes king, and suddenly because you all worked hard for him even when he wasn’t watching you all are promoted to govern over the entire country?

Luke 19:20-26 ~ The Wicked Servant.  Here we have someone who was given wealth to invest and did nothing.  While others were busy for their master who would become king, this servant did nothing the entire time.  Remember that each servant lived on their master’s estate, ate their master’s food, wore clothes provided by their master.  Do you think this master is severe or generous?  Do you think Jesus is purposefully making this servant out to be ridiculous to prove a point?

Luke 19:27 ~ The Punishment.  What else happens as the nobleman sets up his kingdom?

Matthew 25:14-30 ~ The Parable of the Talents.  There are some notable differences in this parable.  As mentioned earlier, the occasion is slightly different.  Jesus is telling this parable so that we can be prepared for His coming.  Also, it is a man instead of a nobleman and he is not going away to receive a kingdom.  Try to notice other differences as we look at this parable.

Matthew 25:14-18 ~ The Master entrusts his servants with his riches.  Does it say why the master gave his servants this large sum of money?  Why did the master give each servant a different amount?  If the success of your master means better job security for you, should that motivate you to serve your master well in his absence?

Matthew 25:19-23 ~ The Rewards.  What is different about the rewards given here than what we saw in Luke 19?

Matthew 25:24-30 ~ The Lazy Servant.  What is different about where the servant hid the money?  Does it seem strange that this servant would hide such a large amount of money this way?  Note that the lazy servant had probably been busy doing things, he just hadn’t been doing anything for his master.  What do you think about the final destination of the lazy servant?

When Jesus shows up, will He find you doing the business of the kingdom?  What are some things that God is calling you to do for His kingdom?  What are some things that this church could be doing better?  How can you make a difference with that

When Jesus settles your account, will He find a profit on everything He has blessed you with?  Are you living like Jesus is the master of your estate?  Do you really believe Jesus will be King over everything?  Have you been like the lazy servant, not using what God has blessed you with for His kingdom?

**Trying to calculate the worth of a talent.  If we believe this was a talent of gold which weighed 200 pounds or 92 kilograms, then we can calculate the current market value.  Just this past week, gold is worth around $41,000 per kilogram.  That is $3,772.000.00 for one talent.  A talent of silver was 100 pounds or 45 kilograms and right now is worth about $21,000.  Following the worth of one talent being equivalent to 6,000 drachma, the value would be around $12,000.

**Trying to calculate a mina.  Maybe one one-hundredth of a talent.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
Yes, this is my signature line.  It comes from the above parable.  The reason should be obvious.  We are commanded by Jesus to occupy, stay busy, about the business of the King, until He comes.  The lazy servant had time for many things, but not the well being of his Master’s estate.  To serve Him is our purpose.  To fail in that is to be worthless.

-The Orange Mailman

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2 Responses to #14 ~ The Productivity of the Kingdom

  1. Yves P. says:

    Can you clarify one point for me? Why does the wicked servant characterize his master so negatively? “you are a hard man, you take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow” It is almost like he was describing a thief, which is not the case. A thief wouldn’t put so much money in the hands of servants.

    On a different topic I believe the wicked servant put away the talent to avoid drawing attention to it and to him. He must have believe that if his master didn’t come back he could keep the talent for himself without anybody knowing about it.

    Yves P.

    • I’m not sure why Jesus told the parable in this way. It is a parable though. I think Jesus was appealing to those workers who are good, conscientious workers and then pointing out the “slacker” in their midst. The excuses would have sounded familiar to those who had to pull the dead weight. “Our boss is so demanding. He doesn’t understand that we have lives, too.” This type of rhetoric may have been common in the situation that was Jesus was describing. A master would go away for a certain time. He entrusted his servants with HIS stuff and they all knew they were supposed to turn a profit. The lazy servant would characteristically say behind his back, “He’s so demanding. He expects a garden to spring up out of a field of rocks.” Actually, no, he expects you to be busy about his business.

      Just my two cents. Sorry for the delay.

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