In 1996, Billy and Ruth Graham were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their service to America. After the presentation, Billy Graham was being interviewed by Diane Sawyer. In his inimitable way of always getting Jesus into his conversation he said, “Ruth and I are humbled by this award. But the only recognition I am looking forward to is when I stand before the Lord Jesus Christ. My greatest reward will be to hear Him say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’” This phrase comes from this parable in Luke 19: 11-26.
In this parable, the prospective king gave one mina to ten of his servants and told them to “do business” until he returned. The King James Version says, “occupy until I come.” The Greek word is pragmatia from which we get our word “pragmatic.” A mina is equal to about three months’ salary, so multiply what you make in a month, and you’ll see this wasn’t a small amount. Jesus has gone to heaven, but He has given each one of His servants valuable gifts. He has commanded us to “do business” until He returns;, to be pragmatic in the way we manage His resources.
Don’t get this parable confused with the parable of the “talents” found in Matthew 25. There are some similar aspects but the main difference is in Matthew 25 the master gave one servant five talents, another servant two, and the third servant was given one. In this parable, each servant is given the same amount: one mina.
The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 teaches us that we have all been given different spiritual gifts and abilities. But in this parable, the gifts given are equal–one mina. We all have different amounts of money, and spiritual abilities, but what are some of the things all of have been given equally by God? I can think of at least three gifts we’ve all been given in equal amounts.
(1) Time. I’m not talking about the length of your life, because that varies. But each of us has the same amount of time each day–24 hours. Even though we have the same amount, wouldn’t you agree some servants to a better job managing those 24 hours in terms of doing business for God? What about you. John Piper wrote a book called ‘Don’t waste your life’ are you wasting yours?
(2) Truth. As servants of God, we all have the same instruction manual, the truth found in God’s Word, the Bible. God hasn’t given me any more truth than is available to you. How much time do we invest in investigating the truth of God’s word.
(3) Opportunities to serve God. All of us have opportunities to serve our Master. Once an opportunity passes, it’s gone forever. If you don’t use it you lose it. These faithful servants didn’t play it safe. They risked their lives in doing business for the Master. God honours that kind of bold faith.