Now it’s back to what we love to do – explore God’s Word and view life from that high plateau! We’re going to continue our study in Luke, reading chapter 19:11-27.
Jesus has everyone’s attention after accepting someone like Zach the taxman, and so he launches once again into story mode. He tells a parable intended to temper everyone’s expectations about how this kingdom of God thing is going to go down. That’s the purpose of this story…we need to keep that in mind.
The story is about a nobleman who goes to receive his commission to become king of a region. While he’s gone, he entrusts 10 servants with the resources to see that the purposes of his kingdom are advanced in his absence. Also, while he’s gone, the citizens he’s supposed to rule rebel and send a delegation to keep him from being king. When he returns, he asks for an accounting from his servants as to how they advanced his purposes in his stead, and he deals with the rebellion severely. You might find this bit of historic context sort of interesting in light of this story.
This is an interesting story with some curious characters used, especially so regarding the one typifying Christ. We need to be careful as to how we interpret and apply this to life. The most common sermon I hear on this usually draws the most shallow draft from the most obvious conclusion…but I think this parable deserves a little more thought. What I’ve usually heard is: Jesus is away in heaven, and if you haven’t witnessed enough or tithed enough or whatever, he’s going to be upset with you when he gets back. In other words: Jesus is coming, so look busy! But is that really the message of this parable?
Clearly, the third servant is meant to be a warning, he’s given a lot of space in the narrative, but a warning about what, I wonder?
What if we were to think about the first two stewards? What were they doing while their master was gone? Weren’t they just doing their job as usual? Were they acting like people who have no king – or were they behaving as though the kingdom they served was a sure thing? How do you read this in light of it as being a story that tempers expectations about how long this kingdom project will take? What if this were an encouragement to hold on, to stay loyal, even though the delay in fulfillment is longer than we thought it would be? What if this were about loyalty – an encouragement to not lose hope and drift into the attitude of the rebellion, and let our lives stagnate and get smaller in the process?
It’s something to think about anyway. How do you want to read this passage?
Hope to see you Sunday! This Sunday is our last Surf-N-Grill of the 2011 season!