Growing God’s Kingdom

 

Next, Jesus told a story about how to remain ready for his return — by service that actually grows God’s kingdom (200).

“Once there was a man who was going on a trip; he left certain of his servants in charge of his funds. He assigned funds to each one according to his ability.  To one he gave five thousand gold coins, to another he gave two thousand, and to another he gave one thousand. Then he left on his trip.

“The servant with five thousand coins invested the money & earned another five thousand. The servant who had received two thousand coins invested the money & earned another two thousand. But the servant with one thousand coins simply hid his master’s money in a safe place.

“Eventually, the master came back to settle accounts with the servants. First, the servant with five thousand coins reported that he had earned another five thousand. ‘Well done, you good & faithful servant!’ said his master. ‘Because you have been faithful in managing small amounts of my money, I will put you in charge of managing larger amounts. I want you to be happy about this, as I am.’

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“Next, the servant with two thousand coins reported that he had earned another two thousand.  ‘Well done, you good & faithful servant!’ said his master. ‘Because you have been faithful in managing small amounts of my money, I will put you in charge of managing larger amounts. I want you to be happy about this, as I am.’

“Last, the servant with one thousand coins came in and said, ‘Sir, I know you are a hard man & I didn’t want to disappoint you.  I hid your money in a safe place, so now I can return your money to you.’

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‘That’s a terrible report!’ his master said. ‘You should at least have deposited my money in the bank, so it would have earned some interest while I was gone.’

“Then the master took back the one thousand coins & gave them to the servant with ten thousand coins.  And the master explained,

  • ‘Everyone whose service grows my kingdom will be given more responsibility & opportunity.
  • But everyone whose service does not grow my kingdom will have responsibility & opportunity taken away.’

“Then the master said of the last servant: ‘Throw this useless man outside in the darkness & let him grind his teeth in pain.'”

LORD, please help us to love serving You by growing Your kingdom.

(200) Matthew 25:14-30

When The King Comes Back

 

Although many people were puzzling over the incident with Zacchaeus, they still followed Jesus as he walked along, because they expected Jesus to overthrow the Roman occupation forces & re-establish Israel as the independent kingdom of God on earth.  Sensing this, Jesus continued teaching with another story (181).

Jesus began, “Once there was a nobleman who was going to a country far away to be installed as king of his homeland, after which he planned to return there to rule. Before he left, he called in ten servants, gave them each a gold coin, and told them, ‘See what you can earn with this while I am gone.’

“Many people in his homeland hated this particular nobleman, so they lobbied against his being installed as their king.  But their efforts didn’t succeed.  The nobleman was installed as king, after which he returned to his homeland.

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“At once he ordered his ten servants to appear before him, in order to find out what they had accomplished for his kingdom. The first one came and said, ‘Sir, I have earned ten gold coins with the one you gave me.’  ‘Well done,’ said the newly-installed king; ‘you’re a good servant. Since you were faithful in these small matters, I am appointing you ruler of ten cities in my kingdom.’

“Then the second servant came and said, ‘Sir, I have earned five gold coins with the one you gave me.’   Again the king was pleased, so he told his servant, ‘You will be in charge of five cities in my kingdom.’

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“But a third servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it hidden, because I was afraid of losing it.’ Then the king said to him angrily, ‘You should at least have put my money in the bank, so it could have earned a little interest for my kingdom!’

“Then the king ordered his officials: ‘Take the gold coin away from him and give it to the servant who has ten coins.’ Some of the officials questioned this: ‘Sir, he already has ten coins.’

“The king responded with three decrees:  ‘Every servant of mine, who works faithfully to increase my kingdom, will be given more responsibility in my kingdom.

‘And every servant of mine, who does nothing to increase my kingdom, will lose whatever responsibility he has had.

‘But all those people, who resisted my even becoming king, must now forfeit their lives & be removed from my presence forever.'”

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LORD, please help us to love serving You as our only King.

(181) Luke 19:11-27

Always Be Ready

 

Jesus then taught his students the importance of readiness (150):  Always stay focused on God; always be ready to serve God.

God is like a master who comes home from a wedding & finds his servants ready & waiting to serve him, even if he doesn’t return until after midnight.

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In fact, God is so pleased with such faithful servants that he will actually serve them!  God will bless such faithful servants in ways that will make them happy beyond measure.

Keep this in mind, though.  If a homeowner knew that a thief planned to break into his home at a specific time, that homeowner would definitely be home at that time, ready to prevent the break-in.  He would not let the thief break into his house.

However, God’s timing is not predictable like that.  You must always be ready to meet God, because I will return to you at a time when you’re not expecting me.

Peter asked Jesus: “Master, is this teaching for everyone, or just for us?”  Jesus applied his teaching — both to his chosen witnesses and to all his followers – with this illustration:

A master sometimes needs to set a manager over his household.  If the manager carries out his responsibilities effectively & efficiently, the master will reward him & promote him to greater responsibility.

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But if the manager neglects his responsibilities & abuses his position of authority, the master will punish him severely.

The bottom line is this: the more God allows you to do in his service, the more God will expect you to do in his service.

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LORD, please help us to love serving You.

(150) Luke 12:35-48