The Reward of Good Stewardship

Luke 19: 11-28
2Mac 7:1,20-31 / Psa 17

…to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away.
(Luke 19:26)

Thank God for talents we’ve received;
And His Word we’ve come to believe.
May these talents lead us to give
More worth in each day that we live.

While they were listening, Jesus 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 gold coins and told them, ‘Put this money to work until I come back.’ But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten more.’ ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ The second came and said, ‘Sir, your gold coin has earned five more.’ His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’ Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your gold coin; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 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.’ 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? Why then didn’t you put my money in the bank, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his gold coin from him and give it to the one who has ten gold coins.’ ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 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.’” After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. (Luke 19:11-28)

Reflection

Jesus gave this parable for the benefit of His disciples who were expecting the coming of His kingdom (soon) when He reached Jerusalem; for the benefit of His apostles, who would be entrusted with responsibilities of leadership while He was away from them; and to give a warning to His enemies (the Pharisees and scribes) who opposed His kingship.

First of all, Jesus’ portrayal of a “man of noble birth going to a distant country” signified that our Lord’s kingdom would not be coming soon as His disciples anticipated when He reached Jerusalem. Our Lord, however, hinted of the people’s rejection when He said, “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.” The more important reason for this parable, however, was to impress upon the apostles their responsibility as stewards of His kingdom here on earth. Those who have been faithful in taking charge of small assignments will be given greater undertakings and even greater rewards. But those who do not put to good use even the little talents given them will suffer their loss, as well as the inheritance of His eternal kingdom. God expects our faith to be dynamic and progressive; no Christian should ever rest on his laurels and think that he has done enough in God’s service. God gave us talents and expects us to employ them and be fruitful. St. Paul, our model of God’s tireless worker, said, “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal.6:9-10).

In the parable, the nobleman gave his ten servants one gold coin each. God gives each one equal opportunities to use our gifts according to our individual capabilities. With diligence and zeal in using the talent God has given us, we can produce five or ten times more from our original store. Or we can let our gift lie fallow because of laziness, negligence (pursuing instead selfish, worldly pleasures), or lack of confidence (fear of failure). If we do not employ the talent God has given us, we would be no different from that third servant who even insulted his master by saying, “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” (Lk.19:21).

Life in this world is only as meaningful as the value we put into it in preparing for the next life. Time derives its worth from every moment lived for the Lord. Life is so precious that we must make each day count for God’s glory. He has given each one of us a ‘gold coin’ or gift that we can use in propagating His kingdom here on earth. He does not expect that we can multiply His capital in our life five or ten times over. But at least let us give back to Him some “interest” for His investment, lest we lose our most precious possession.

May each day that we live be filled with works that give You glory, Lord, if only to show our appreciation for all the talents that You have given us, and for this gift of life that You have made so precious. Amen.

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