Which Servant Are You: Luke 19:11-27

Focus Passage: Luke 19:11-27 (NIrV)

 11 While the people were listening to these things, Jesus told them a story. He was near Jerusalem. The people thought that God’s kingdom was going to appear right away.

 12 Jesus said, “A man from an important family went to a country far away. He went there to be made king and then return home. 13 So he sent for ten of his servants. He gave them each about three months’ pay. ‘Put this money to work until I come back,’ he said.

 14 “But those he ruled over hated him. They sent some messengers after him. They were sent to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’

 15 “But he was made king and returned home. Then he sent for the servants he had given the money to. He wanted to find out what they had earned with it.

 16 “The first one came to him. He said, ‘Sir, your money has earned ten times as much.’

 17 “ ‘You have done well, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘You have been faithful in a very small matter. So I will put you in charge of ten towns.’

 18 “The second servant came to his master. He said, ‘Sir, your money has earned five times as much.’

 19 “His master answered, ‘I will put you in charge of five towns.’

 20 “Then another servant came. He said, ‘Sir, here is your money. I have kept it hidden in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you. You are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in. You harvest what you did not plant.’

 22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you evil servant! So you knew that I am a hard man? You knew that I take out what I did not put in? You knew that I harvest what I did not plant? 23 Then why didn’t you put my money in the bank? When I came back, I could have collected it with interest.’

 24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his money away from him. Give it to the one who has ten times as much.’

 25 “ ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten times as much!’

 26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that everyone who has will be given more. But here is what will happen to anyone who has nothing. Even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 And what about my enemies who did not want me to be king over them? Bring them here! Kill them in front of me!’ ”

Read Luke 19:11-27 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

While there are plenty of things we could focus in on in this parable, let’s focus in on the ten servants. In Matthew’s similar parable, there are only three servants, but this parable has enough unique details in it that makes me think Jesus shared this similar parable to a different group of people. In our discussion of the ten servants, our big idea will surface.

First off, we have ten servants, and some people who are “enemies” of the “important man”. For the purposes of our discussion, we’ll include these two groups of people together, though there are not any details to keep them from being two distinct groups.

The first and second servants see this as an opportunity to show their leadership ability. The first servant is especially resourceful, turning three months of pay into thirty months of pay – and presumably not using any of it to live off of. The second servant is still resourceful, but his accomplishment is turning the three months of pay into fifteen months – and also presumably not using any of it to live off of.

These first two servants are exceptionally resourceful, and because they freely bring the money back to the important man (now king), we can rightfully assume that they are not included in the group of enemies.

The third servant’s defining quality is fear. Fear of the important man, fear of making a mistake, fear of even trying something. He does seem to realize that this is a test, but he doesn’t conclude that he is being tested on the results. The important man says that he wants these servants to put the money to “work” (v. 13), but this servant seems to scared and/or timid to do anything with the money other than hide it. At the new king’s return, we see that his fear to move forward cost him the opportunity to be positively noticed. Instead he is chastised and the money taken and given to servant #1.

The third servant also freely brings the money back, so we can assume that while he isn’t very bright or resourceful, he is not among the enemies of the new king.

The last seven servants are not mentioned, which implies that they either squandered the money, didn’t bring anything back, and/or they are all enemies of the new king. These enemy-servants are the least bright of all. When the important man left, there was no question or doubt that he would be made king. These enemies seem to think that this detail is up for debate, and that they can change this course in history – but they are mistaken.

This arrogance cost them their lives, which leads us to our big idea for this passage: Jesus has left each of us with resources and opportunity while He is “being crowned King”. This detail is not up for debate and won’t be changed. When He returns, would it be better to have been resourceful, or an enemy?

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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