Taking sides is unavoidable in life. Be it day-to-day decisions or major events, we are forced to take sides and move forward. It is impossible to live life by accommodating all viewpoints. And the greatest unavoidable decision man has to make is the one to align with or against Jesus. The parable of the talents told by Jesus is in fact much more a story of deciding whose side you are on rather than one of using your talents.
He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ 14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ 15 “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. 16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ 17 “ ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ ——-’ 20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 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.’ ———24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ —— 27 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.’ ” (Luke 19)
The nobleman who became king represents Christ. Not only does the nobleman accomplish what he set out to do, he also is intimately involved in the affairs of his subjects and demands accountability. There are three groups of subjects- those who align with him, those who are ambiguous and those who oppose him.
The first two subjects constitute a minority who go against the popular tide and align with the king. They recognize the sovereignty of the king, understand his character and have a deep respect for him. They fully acknowledge that the minas given to them belong to the king and they are multiplying them so that the returns would be given back to the king. Accordingly, they are able to not only multiply the talents but also enjoy the rewarding experience of being honored by the king. Making the right investment, they secure for themselves a bright future in his kingdom. These two subjects reflect those who have a vibrant relationship with Christ- having received him as a Savior, they fully devote themselves to serving him and honoring him. Their eternity is secure.
The third servant who is specified in the story is the ambiguous servant. Even though he does not overtly oppose the king, he does not fully endorse the lordship of the king. He is the one who sits on the fence, waiting to see what will happen. His understanding of the king is faulty and he is lukewarm toward the king. He is lazy with the talent that the king gave him and does nothing with it, because he most likely was busy with other things he considered worthwhile. Sitting on the fence till the last moment, he jumps in to give account but realizes that he is too late and his justification is unworthy. He loses his opportunity to honor the master and find a secure future. This servant represents the large number of Christians who are lukewarm toward Christ and substitute true worship and service for a form of religiosity. They stand on dangerous ground and risk losing all.
The third group, into which the 7 servants who are not specified most likely fall into, are those who oppose the nobleman. These servants actively canvass for the nobleman not to be appointed king. When he returns as king, they do not even present themselves to him to give account. Their miscalculation and misadventure cost them their lives. This group represents those who oppose Christ. History and experience shows us that the vast majority of people will not accept Christ and will hence reject his salvation and lordship. His exclusive claims are offensive to them and they either actively or passively end up opposing him and can look forward only to a bleak eternity.
Taking sides is unavoidable; sitting on the fence is dangerous. When it comes to responding to Christ, whose side are you on?
- MEEKNESS AND MAJESTY
- THE RICH AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD-I