Multiplying Minas

Based on: John 1:1-14

Multiplying minas. That’s what Jesus is talking about, isn’t it? It’s about multiplying minas and a mina is a sum of money – about $15,000. So, someone gives you a sum of money and you work with it and turn it into more money! But Jesus isn’t talking just about money, as we will see later. Just like the more familiar parable of the talents that Jesus told at another time, Jesus uses money to represent greater treasures.

I mentioned the parable of the talents where something very similar happens, but one of the differences here is that the one giving out the money is going away to be made king. In the parable there were people who did not want him to be king. They oppose him. As Jesus tells this parable he knows that his death and resurrection will come soon and he will again fully take up the power and glory he had before. In fact, the very next thing Luke records for us are the events of Palm Sunday, where the people shout, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.” Of course it becomes obvious later that there are people who do not want Jesus to be there king. When Pilate asks, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answer “We have no king but Caesar.” And when Pharisees see, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” above Jesus on the cross, they object.

As it is in the parable, so it is in real life. If you do not submit to Jesus Christ as your king, then you will be destroyed. It is that simple. Just like the nobleman who commands that his enemies be killed before his eyes, Jesus Christ will condemn every unbeliever to hell on judgment day.

Perhaps we know people who make it obvious they do not want to Christ to be their king, but what about us. While we certainly need to hear the warning not to reject Christ as King, Jesus more directly tells us, “Multiply your Mina!”

First, it is hard to escape the fact that Jesus uses money in his illustration. He is talking about money. How do you use the money God has given you for his glory?

But this is not just about money. We can use this same truth and applied it to everything that God has given us. None of it belongs to us. God has given it to us so that we can bring him glory in the way that we use it, so that on the last day we can say to God, “Look at it at what I have done with the things that you let me use for a while. Look how I have used them for your kingdom.”

But still we are not getting to the heart of the parable if we just look at material blessings. There is one gift that our King has given to every one of his subjects, to everyone in his kingdom, the church. That is the gospel. In the parable the nobleman calls 10 of his servants to himself and gives them each a mina. Often in the imagery we find in Scripture the number 10 indicates completeness or represents the whole. So, just like in the parable Christ calls all of us to himself and gives each one of us that precious gospel message, the message that God loves you so much that he decided, he chose, to punish his own Son for your sin. Through faith you now have a glorious, eternal life that you do not deserve.

What do you do with this good news? Are you like the third man in the parable who hides it, who does not put the gospel to work in his life? This third man in the parable may represent those who are not in church, or those who come to church simply because that is what they’ve always done, or because that’s what others expect them to do. Maybe they think that by coming to church every once in awhile they keep God satisfied as if there is some bare minimum that they have to do for God to be pleased with them. They hear the gospel. God gives them the mina, but they never really put it to work. The gospel just sits there all covered up in their lives and is never given the chance to multiply. That joy that comes from understanding what God has done for us never infects them, let alone anyone else. It does not spread. It does not grow.

God did not intend for you to just hold onto your faith and let it sit there. He wants you to put it to work. I get the impression that the first two men were busy and active in making the money grow that was given them. Maybe the man who earned the 10 minas purchased a building and set up a shop where he bought and sold merchandise. Perhaps the second man bought a field and with sweat and hard work turned his one mina into one plus five more.

God wants you to take this gospel message of Jesus Christ and what he has done for you, he wants you to take that message and combine it with your money and the other things that he has given you, your gifts, your abilities, your time, and add to that the sweat from good honest work so that the gospel produces fruit in your life and spreads into the lives of others.

Think about a boy who has just been given $100. He could put the money in his pocket and not use it. He might spend it on himself in some wasteful way. Or he might buy some tools that would allow him to do odd jobs and make more money. Or he might buy books that would help him learn a particular skill and earn money that way.

So how does that work with the gospel? How do you multiply the mina God has placed in you? It is really not that difficult. God is the one who does the real work. It is as simple as hearing God’s word. So, come to church on a regular basis. I found recently something that Pastor Liggett wrote to this congregation in 1982. He was concerned about church attendance and he said, ” I would hope that all of us would make our number one priority in life faithful church attendance.”

I would also add to that, Bible class. The two go together. Sunday morning worship gives you that basic message we need to hear so often, you are a sinner deserving God’s wrath, but God through Christ has rescued you. Bible class allows us to go a little deeper in certain areas and to cover a wider range of topics. The two really complement each other. Today, since it is Last Judgment Sunday, in Bible class we will look at what will happen on that last day when our Lord returns and how it will happen.

Not only as we hear the Word, but we grow as we remember our baptism, when God made us a part of his kingdom, and when we come to the Lord’s Supper to taste the Gospel as we receive our Lord’s body and blood.

Beyond even Sunday morning we multiply our mina as we read our Bible, read a devotion, and in general allow God’s word to influence the decisions in our life. Remember what I said last week. Remain in that sphere of Christ’s words and let his words be the guiding influence in your life as you interact with the world around you.

In that way the gospel will grow tremendously in your life and in the lives of others around you. Your mina a will increase fivefold or tenfold. The joy that you get from the gospel will be great in spite of the suffering you endure on this earth. You will enjoy having Jesus as your king. And you will hear him say to you “Well done, my good servant” not as if your work will get you into heaven, but that increase will be a sign of faith, because when you believe the gospel you will put it to work in your life and it will grow.

Amen.

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