Tonight while reading my devotion a few things came to mind that I wanted to flesh out for myself and share with you at the same time.
I’m reading through the NLT daily New Testament in a year Bible with my hubby. We’re a few days behind so I ended up reading a couple extra days worth of reading together. I read (out loud to Seth) Luke 18:18-19:48. By reading these passages together I found a few things that I had never noticed before (disclaimer I didn’t pull out any deep study books to double check my thoughts, so if I’m wrong feel free to correct me and again read it for yourself, don’t just take my word for it).
First, on his way into Jericho, Jesus heals a blind man who happens to be sitting beside the road where He and the crowd are traveling. After this quick healing, the formally blind man “followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.” (18:43).
Next, Jesus, the excited crowd and presumedly the still rejoicing blind man make their way into Jericho where they now meet Zacchaeus in the infamous sycamore tree. See, I never connected these two event together before. I can imagine how excited and rowdy this crowd must have been. The buzz must have been contagious. No wonder Zacchaeus was anxious to see what was going on. To see what this miracle working Jesus was going to do next.
After Zacchaeus has his life changing encounter with Christ (and a meal I assume, at his house), Jesus and the crowd and maybe still the blind man and Zacchaeus continue on their journey to Jerusalem. Do you think the previously blind man ate dinner with Zacchaeus and was a recipient of Zacchaeus’ new found generosity to the poor?
After all this talk about money with Zacchaeus and to “correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away” (19:11), Jesus tells the parable of the 10 Mina or elsewhere described as talents. I’ll come back to this in a minute.
After all of these events that took place between the edges of Jericho into the border of Jerusalem, now comes the triumphal entry. Did Jesus still have the same excited crowd following Him that saw the healing of the blind man? Scripture says that the people “were displeased” and “grumbled” when Jesus stopped to fellowship with Zacchaeus at his home (19:7). Did they stick around afterwards to see this triumphal entry? Did they get over their bitterness toward Jesus’ new found friend? Was Zacchaeus and the healed blind man in the crowd at the triumphal entry too? What happened to them during the following week and what was their reaction when Jesus was betrayed and crucified? Did they hide like the disciples? Did they give up hope? We’re they among the people that Jesus later appeared to?
And then Jesus went from the triumphal entry to clearing out the temple again. That’s quite an exciting and exhausting day. What a roller coaster of emotions for the crowd, let alone Jesus’ disciples. No wonder they didn’t understand it all. I’d be lost and confused, too.
Ok, with all that now being said (a lot to take in, I know) but I really want to go back to is the parable of the Mina. I find it interesting that Jesus used a parable about money right after an infamous tax collector repented and promised to give away his corruptly earned riches.
I also found it interesting that 1 Mina was worth 3 months’ wages. And the nobleman gave away 10 of them. So he divided up 30 months worth of wages among 3 of his servants. Let’s assume a person make $500 a week. Just one Mina was worth 500×4 (weeks)x3 (months)= $6,000. So this nobleman gave his 3 servants a total of $60,000 to invest for him. We don’t know if he divided the Mina equally or not, but if we assume he did (I know you can’t exactly divide 10 by 3 equally but let’s just pretend to make it easier), the first servant made his master a profit of $200,000! (60,000/3 then x10) The second servant made $100,000. And the third servant gave his master back his original $20,000. All those amounts sure make the Mina and their profits sounds much more impressive, huh?
The main thing that stuck out to me is what happens when we apply the three servants to ourselves, especially the last one. I’ve heard people relate the Mina or talents to us and how we use the talents that God’s given us. I see how this applies. But let’s make it even simpler. What is the basic gift that God has given all of us Christians? Well, actually He’s given it to EVERYONE but it doesn’t apply unless we actually take the gift. So, like the servants in the parable, Christians have accepted the gift of salvation (aka Mina) and all that it entails (forgiveness, eternal life, hope, purpose, grace, etc). But what have you done with this gift? What have I done with it? When Jesus comes back is He going to find that you’ve made $200,000 worth on his investment in your life? Of course I’m not trying to put a price on salvation. I’m not trying to actually say that I expect God to be looking for a financial profit from the Gospel. I hope you understand what I’m meaning here. Are you making your salvation count? Does it just count for you or are you truly sharing the Gospel and investing it in others?
Have you buried your Mina and kept it to yourself? Do the people around you even know you’re a Christian? Have you gone beyond labeling yourself a Christian and actually planted the seeds in other’s lives? Have you made the Gospel real for those around you?
Or are you sitting nice and comfortably upon your buried treasure? It’s not enough to keep your salvation untarnished and intact.
The scary truth comes next ” ‘You wicked servant!’ The king roared ‘your own words condemn you…take the money from this servant and give it to the others…to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away…'” (Luke 19:22, 24, 26).