“So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.” ~Luke 19:13
So the King gives his servants money and says, “Use these resources until I come back.” Put this money to good use. Make something out of it. The servants were to carry on the King’s business while he was gone. Continue doing what he himself would be doing if he were there. Working on his behalf. Taking initiative. Using the knowledge and experience they had acquired in their years of being associated with him as his servants to promote his interests. Here are the resources. Now take care of my business while I’m gone.
First thing the King does when he comes back is to call his servants in and ask them how it went. The first two had obviously been hard at work. They’d turned a pretty good profit using the King’s gifts. And they were praised and rewarded. (Luke 19:15-19)
The third guy’s brought into accounting and he says, “I didn’t do anything. I sat on it. I was afraid of you. I know you have high standards. I know you hate sloppiness. So I didn’t do anything.”
And then seven verses of harsh judgment from the King. “You wicked servant!”
Jesus’ last parable before he enters Jerusalem to face his death is a sobering one: non-participation is not a casual matter. However timid or meek it is, non-participation is disobedience. It’s sin.
This story is hard. It’s unrelenting. Doing nothing is not an option in the Kingdom of God. In the Kingdom of God there are no non-participants. Jesus spends more words and time and space on the judgment delivered to this play-it-safe, do-nothing, overly-cautious, non-participating, non-servant than he does the other nine. Even the ones who signed the petition and sent the delegation saying they didn’t want this King, they only get one verse.
Here’s the deal. And it’s clear: a timid refusal to obey makes us liable to the same judgment as defiant and rebellious disobedience. It’s the same thing.
The story is a call to faithfulness to the King and his business. We’re all accountable to Jesus. Those who claim to follow him are responsible for a ministry of sacrifice and service in seeking and saving the lost. Those who reject him are responsible for not recognizing who he is and not accepting his invitation. This 3rd servant represents the dangers we face as members of the Lord’s Church. He’s associated with the King. He’s a member of the community. He lives with the King, he wears the King’s name, he eats at the King’s table, but he doesn’t trust the King. He’s never walked through that door of faith that responds to grace. So he winds up on the outside with nothing.
Obediently following Jesus, being proactive and taking risks and spending ourselves and our God-given resources in this already-inaugurated Kingdom of God is serious business. The gifts we have from God are not to be guarded or protected or kept safe. They are to be used extravagantly for the King’s business until he comes back.
In the first year of Legacy Small Groups Church we’ve experienced our mighty God at work building faith, encouraging Christian ministry and service, and fostering deeper friendships and relationships in our church family. And I believe our Father wants us to do even more. I believe he’s using Small Groups to transform our entire church family into the image of Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Paul exhorted the Christians in Philippi to practice the same attitude “as that of Christ Jesus” by looking not only to our own interests, “but also to the interests of others.” A union with Christ and fellowship with his Holy Spirit is proved when disciples “consider others better than yourselves.”
I’m convinced that the next big steps in our spiritual growth at the Family of God at Legacy will best be taken by everyone of us — young and old, singles and families, new members and long-time members — meeting weekly in our Small Groups to apply the Word, connect as a family, and evangelize our community.
Our groups start meeting again this Sunday night. For twelve months we’ll be opening up our homes and our lives to each other in the name of our King. Over 750 of us sharing meals and prayers and Christian love and service in 40 homes all over Northeast Tarrant County. Being church, not doing church. Increased unity and and ministry and worship and healing and fellowship and forgiveness. It’s going to that next level as a member of the Kingdom. And taking others with you.
This Sunday night. Jump in.
At 7:00 tomorrow morning, the Four Horsemen will be holed up together in some little sideroom at the EastRidge Church of Christ in Rockwall to pray for an hour. My great friends, Dan Miller and Kevin Henrichson, half of the Horsemen, have organized a 24 Hours of Prayer that started at 8:00 this morning. Men at EastRidge are right now in fervent prayer, lifting up nearly a thousand different thanksgivings and requests that have been submitted by that church family.
Jason Reeves and I, the other half, will be the tag-team speakers at the prayer breakfast that wraps up the event tomorrow morning. I’m honored to be a part of it. Our mighty God is at work anytime men are gathered to pray for extended periods of time. And I love being right in the big middle of it. You pray with a group of three or four men for an hour and it’s like you’ve been in a fox hole with them. You’re bonded to them for eternity. You see their hearts and their spirits as they open up to their Lord. You feel their joys and their pains as they lay bare their souls before God. You learn more about a brother by praying with him than you could ever learn at a two-hour lunch or even a fishing or hunting weekend.
Praying together is huge. Jason and Dan and Kevin and I figured that out a long time ago. The men at EastRidge are learning it right now. And I’m really looking forward to sharing some of that time with them tomorrow morning.