Before reading this post, please read the Parable of the Ten Minas in Luke 19:11-27.
I understand that Jesus told this story “to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away” (v. 11), but I also know that many of Jesus’ stories have multiple layers of meaning and application. Right away, we see the characters in this story are the nobleman, his people, and his servants. While each provides an interesting perspective to consider, let’s focus in on the expectations of the nobleman for his servants.
Not only do we see resistance to the nobleman’s rule and thus get a picture of why the Kingdom of God had not yet arrived, we also see specific expectations for those awaiting his return. Those expectations include the following lessons.
- Avoid comparisons. When evaluating his servant’s performances, the nobleman did not compare one to another. Neither should we compare ourselves to others or others to others. Avoiding such comparisons not only keeps our perspective healthy, but it also sets us up well for adherence to the other lessons learned from this story.
- Expect rewards based on your own performance. Unrealistic expectations always disappoint, while realistic ones set us up for continual improvement and success.
- Act on knowledge, not fear. The first two servants acted on their knowledge of the nobleman, and they were productive. The third servant acted based on fear, and the results were disastrous. Facts over feelings play a big role in our productivity.
- Be faithful with what you have. When we live out the first three lessons, we set ourselves up for faithfulness with what we have. When we are productive with what we have rather than what we wish we had, we will find contentment.
These lessons tell us what is expected of us as we await Jesus’ return. They also provide best practices for our interactions with others, especially with those in authority over us. Applying these lessons to our work life, especially, provides a way to not only be productive but to also cultivate contentment.