The other day I went to Starbucks for a coffee. When I entered the store, there were about 10 people in line. My first thoughts were “Ugh! No way!” But I really wanted my coffee to I stayed in line. Good thing too. At least two people in front of me got sick of waiting. They turned around and left. One muttered something about "the cashier needing to get his act together.” The sad part? It took me all of 5 minutes to get my coffee. 5 minutes.
We aren't very a very patient people. Whether it's waiting in line for coffee or waiting in the car for our spouse to finish getting dressed or waiting on our coworkers for completion of a project or even waiting for the signal that to tell us we now have 10 seconds to get across Falls of Neuse, we get very impatient.
Now let's talk spiritual things. It's been 2000 years. 2000 some years since Christ promised to return.
Do you ever get sick of waiting? Tired of doing Christian things for a Christ that doesn't seem to return? Do you ever begin to think: there's no reason, no purpose? In a little bit, I'm going to be handing out invitations to our Christmas service. Your first reaction might be: “NOT AGAIN! There's no point. Jesus won't be coming back any time soon. Why the urgency!?!”
To those who would be waiting for his return, Jesus said, there was a man of noble birth. Noble has the idea of 'well off.' We might think “Upper class.” Perhaps someone who owns one of the 2 million dollars homes right on the golf course behind Falls of Neuse.
The man has noble ambitions. He wants to be named king. Maybe, we could think of a county commissioner. Or member of the school board.
The only difference is that this wasn't a democracy. That's why he needed to travel to a distant country. He needed to get approval from the higher ups. Perhaps he already knew these people, perhaps not. Either way, he was planning to go and make his case for being appointed king of the region.
While he's gone, he doesn't just want his household and business to stall. So he appoints servants to take care of his profit. Each one of them a mina. Ten in all. He tells them, ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
Does that sound familiar? Can you think of anyone else who left to be appointed king, but before he left entrusted to his servants the very work that he came to do?
Matthew 28:19 “Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (like a king) He continued, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (do the work I've been doing. Continue my business) Do this by “Baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and by teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
The master of this parable then is Jesus. The one who own the Kingdom, the power, and the glory!
People of course react in different ways to Jesus' kingship.
1. SPITEFUL ATTITUDE.
The first attitude is very sad. Look at verse 14“But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ " Think of a group of protestors marching around a government building with signs that say: “Down with the master!”
People usually don’t do that with Jesus today. Instead, they write blog posts and magazine articles about why following Christ and his directives makes you a bigot, an idiot, and an old fashion jerk!
Have things really changed all that much from the Pharisees who wanted Jesus dead? Don’t people still wish for the idea of Jesus to be dead?
Still...the Pharisees couldn't stop Jesus from rightfully taking his place at God's right hand. Neither could these angry protestors stop the master from being made king. He returns.
And just like anyone who makes it to the top, he turns and brings vengeance against all those who hated him. Just peek at verse 27: " '27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’ ”
If that's you, you don't want Jesus to be king. If you refuse to listen to what Jesus has in mind for your life, watch out! Because he threatens to give you what you want -- a one way ticket out of his kingdom--only, it may not be the way you desire.
2. FAITHFUL ATTITUDE.
Remember the master had entrusted his money to his servants. He wants to check on on his business. He decides to stop and see how they've done.
The first servant was faithful. 16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ Maybe, he made some good trades on the stock market. Perhaps he invested in an up and coming Nazarene carpentry business. Whatever he did, however he did it, he was faithful. He worked hard and it paid off. Not just in multiplying his master's money by ten, but in impressing the king. He says, “17 “ ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ "
Then, there's the second servant,. “Sir you mina has earned five more.” His mastered answered, “You take charge of five cities.”
It’s like the McDonald's manager who goes away for a month only to find that when he returns, the restaurant is running properly. Napkins are in order. Customers are happy. The restrooms are up to date. Quarterly sales have gone up! He’s pleased and he now trusts the faithful workers he had put in charge.
Jesus is the same way. He is pleased with those who faithfully do his work. He will be happy to find us happily using his gifts of Word and Sacrament to strengthen the faith of his people and multiply his kingdom!
But is that really the servant that we are best represented by? There's one more servant whose attitude seems all too familiar.
3. LAZY ATTITUDE.
20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. Literally, in the Greek, the word means “face cloth.” A handkerchief. What you are supposed to keep in your front pocket and pull out in the middle of hard work to quickly wipe your brow from hard work. Instead of wiping the sweat off of his brow, this servant simply hid his money inside it.
Listen to his reasoning: 21 'I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’
I find this reaction so paradoxical. If he was afraid of the man, because he reacted violently to those who didn't do work, why then didn't he do work?
It's like the football player who is afraid that his coach will be upset that he didn't work out all summer, so he decides to not work out? Or the employee who knows that his boss will be upset if he doesn't do complete any reports while he's away on a conference call—so he surfs Facebook?
What the servant was really frightened of was not the king. It was of what might happen to him while he worked. He might get tired. He might get trouble from others in the business world. He might fail!
And what are we really frightened of?
If we were really frightened of Jesus, if we really respected Him, if we really knew he was in complete control—then wouldn't we be making use of each and every opportunity to grow in his Word? Wouldn’t we make sure never to miss inviting a friend to church? Wouldn’t we boldly and courageously tell our friends and family about our faith in Jesus? Wouldn’t we confidently put “Christian” down as our religious affiliation on Facebook?
But we're more frightened of what others might do to us, “I can't do a family devotion tonight at dinner, because my kids would rather watch TV. I don't want to upset them.” “I can't get my kids to Sunday School early, because they might throw a fit!” “ I can't give an invitation to church to my coworker, because they might (gasp) give me an annoyed look!”
How sad that we are more frightened of this world, than we are of Jesus!
Listen then to how the master treats the servant who didn't do anything: 22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ 24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ "
Lord, may it never be! We have been unfaithful. Forgive us!
And God does.
According to 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Again, in Psalm 33:4 He is faithful in all he does!” (Psalm 33:4) In 2 Timothy 2:13 “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself." God is so great that in spite of our unfaithfulness, he still gets the job done.
A lot of people are unimpressed with our government right now. They can’t seem to get the job done. They can’t seem to come to an agreement and properly run this country.
Jesus. He died. He defeated sin. He saved you and me and he did it without anyone else’s help! He did it at great cost to himself! He died. He gave up his life! He gave up his kingdom, his power, and his glory in order to save you.
It worked. Remember he's king, he can do what he wants. This is no more evident than we he showed that he ruled over death and came out of the grave!
This means something very specific for you. Jesus forgives you for your unfaithfulness in studying his Word. He forgives you for your lazy attitude toward the sacrament. He forgives you for not immersing your children in the word as you should. He forgives you for not sharing his Word.
Brothers and sisters, why wouldn't you want to serve this king? Serve him by putting the mina he has entrusted you to work!
You might ask? What minas has the master given me?
Well, everything. And we could get into specifics: artsy, musical, sporty, outgoing nature, money. Certainly, it’s true. God wants us to use our resources faithfully to further his kingdom.
But today let’s focus on the one mina that we all have in common. The most powerful mina of all.
Put the mina of God's Word to work it in your own life (kinda like investing it) so that you might grow in faithfulness! This, by the way, is why church attendance is so important—There you have the Word of God spoken, sung, and the Sacrament.
Put the mina of God's Word to work with others. Share the message of Jesus with your children by telling them a Bible story before bed. Bring them to Sunday school. Take them to church.
Put your the mina of God's Word to work outside your family. Invite your friends. Invite your coworkers. Pray for friends. Pray for coworkers. Tell friends about Jesus. Tell coworkers about Jesus.
Put the mina of God's Word to work, because when you do so, God is at work!
And he is faithful. He is powerful. He is king of all. He doesn't get tired or weary. He never leaves.
He will return! He will faithfully hold us in faith, so that when he returns he will forgive us our unfaithfulness and warmly turn to you to say, “Well done good and faithful servant. Well done." Amen.