While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ Luke 19:11-13
The parable of the Ten Minas (Luke 19:11-27) is spoken by Jesus just before he enters Jerusalem for the last time. There are five major characters. The characters are: (1) the man of noble birth, (2) the subjects who hated him, (3) the servant who earned ten minas, (4) the servant who earned five minas, and (5) the servant who earned nothing.
The man of noble birth is meant to be Jesus himself who is to receive a kingdom and then return. The subjects who hated him were the Jews who rejected Jesus and especially the religious leaders. The servant who earned ten minas and five minas represent the exemplary disciples of Jesus. And the servant who earns nothing represents an unfruitful disciple of Jesus.
Jesus is about to receive the kingdom of God but before He leaves, he gives a single “mina” (responsibilities, opportunities, abilities, gospel message) to his disciples. He instructs them to put the “money” to work (be fruitful with what God has given them).
The parable ends on a threatening note. Those who reject Jesus as the rightful king will face a terrible judgement upon His return.
During WWII in the heart of America, the community of North Platte, Nebraska fed and greeted over six million servicemen from Christmas 1941 to April 1, 1946. 125 towns sent an estimated 55,000 volunteers to meet each train starting at 5:00am every day until the last train going through after midnight. The quantity of food donated and the miles traveled were especially remarkable in a time of rationing staple items like sugar, butter, meat, coffee, and gasoline.
My mother told me of the times she went there from Gothenburg and the joy she felt having offered the servicemen their gratitude and support. One soldier tearfully accepted a birthday cake from her even though it wasn’t his birthday. She said, “Today it is your birthday!” When we lived in Kimball, my neighbor lady told of driving 150 miles from Dix with 3 lb. coffee cans full of fried chicken for the troops.
One day’s donations were recorded from Merna and Anselmo. The volunteers caravanned 70 miles in 22 cars and three pick-up trucks to get there by 5:00am. They brought: 53 birthday cakes, 127 fried chickens, 58 dozen cookies, 32 dozen cupcakes, 73 pounds of coffee, 163 dozen eggs, 68 dozen doughnuts, 41 quarts of pickles, three crates of oranges, nine pounds of ham, 160 loaves of bread, 50 pounds of sandwich meat, as well as $600 in cash, which helped to pay for the juice and milk delivered by refrigerated truck.
This heartwarming story demonstrates how the people from heartland America used their “minas.” They shared God’s love and mercy to all. They managed with the little they had and made a profound difference. Are we using the “mina” God has given us? Are we fruitful in His kingdom? How do we manage our “mina” to His glory?
Dear heavenly Father, Help us to be fruitful stewards of the “mina” you have given us. Let us answer the call when opportunities arise that we may use our God-given abilities to your glory. Amen.
Written by Janice Nelson