A Reflection On The Parable Of The Ten Minas

Luke 19:16,17,20,24-25 (NIV), "The first [servant] 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.' Then another servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth.' Then he said to those standing by, 'Take his mina away and give it to the one who has ten minas.' 'Sir,' they said, 'he already has ten!'"

What a strange response from the bystanders. What is one mina to ten cities? It is as though the Master said, "I now put you over Nairobi, and Mombasa, and Nakuru, and seven more cities. Oh, and here is $6,000 (or 600,000 schillings, as the case may be) taken from the unfaithful servant. I now give it to you as well." And yet the only thing the bystanders take note of is the 6,000 USD. As Ulruch Luz asserts, it is “almost grotesque” (see his Hermeneia commentary on Matthew’s sister parable).  It isn’t about money - but to the bystanders it always has been and always will be. Even when they see the grand rewards they will not be able to think beyond their own mean calculus. I am reminded of Lewis’ statement, "Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither." 

How many bystanders think of the heavenly rewards in terms of minas? They will be shocked by the Master’s liberality with the faithful in respect to their own terms. Sadly, they will fail to be shocked by His liberality in heavenly terms which - even in the end - they will not have begun to understand. To those who only value copper and know nothing of gold, all the gold in the world means nothing, and yet they will be ever mindful of how the nickels are doled out on judgment day.

- Seth Johnson

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