Weekly Devotional – Week of Monday, November 16, 2020
Opening Prayer (from the Book of Common Prayer, Occasional Prayers)
Gracious and holy Father, please give me intellect to understand you, reason to discern you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, a spirit to know you, a heart to meditate upon you, ears to hear you, eyes to see you, a tongue to proclaim you, a way of life pleasing to you, patience to wait for you, and perseverance to look for you. Grant me a perfect end, your holy presence, a blessed resurrection, and life everlasting. Amen.
Bible Reading –Luke 19:11-27
11 As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12 He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. 16 The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20 Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ 24 And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25 And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ 26 ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 27 But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’” (English Standard Version)
Devotional – Investing in the Kingdom
I do not know much about financial investment, but I remember hearing a Crown Ministries talk while in college about compound interest. Dave Ramsey also teaches this concept in his course, “Financial Peace University.” The idea is that a small investment made regularly over time grows exponentially. Ramsey uses the illustration of two young men, Jack and Blake. Beginning at age 21, Jack invested $2,400 every year for nine years and then quit. Blake did not start investing until he was 30 years old and then invested $2,400 every month until age 67. You would think that Blake would have more money after 38 years of investing, but that is not the case. Because of the magic of compound interest, Jack’s $21,600 invested over 9 years, was at the age of 67 worth $2,547,150. While Blake had invested $91,200 over 38 years, at 67 that investment was worth $1,483,033. Commitment to investing your financial resources early pays huge dividends in life.
Jesus used this same principle when speaking about an investment of another kind. Jesus used money as an illustration quite often, most likely because money is something we all deal with on a daily basis. In “The Parable of the Ten Minas” Jesus tells us a story about a nobleman who went off on a journey. Before he went away, he entrusted some of his money to three of his servants. He instructed them to, “Engage in business until I come.” When the nobleman returned from his journey, he called the three servants to come and report on their business dealings. One servant invested the nobleman’s money and doubled it in profit. The second servant reported that he had made an additional 5 minas from the 10 minas that his master had given him. The third servant came and reported that he took his masters 10 minas and “kept it laid away in a handkerchief.” The reason that the servant to did not invest his master’s money was because he was afraid of the man. He was fearful of losing all his money and what might happen to him if he did.
In this story the first two servants are praised by their master who said, “Well done, good servant!” The third servant however was chastised by his master who said, “I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant!” So, what was the main difference between the three servants? The main difference was their willingness to invest what their master had given them. The first two were willing and although their results varied, they both were praised for their efforts. The third servant failed to invest what he had been given. He hid it away in hopes of keeping it safe and in the process saving his own neck.
What does this mean for us today? For those who follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, there is only one failure in life and that is the failure to invest what we have been entrusted with. What exactly have we been entrusted with by our Master? We have been entrusted with the proclamation of God’s Kingdom that has come in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. We are entrusted with investing our time, our talents, and our treasures towards the work of the same. From this parable it is clear that our Heavenly Master is not concerned so much with the return of His investment as He is with our willingness to trust Him and put the gifts He has so graciously given us to good use.
This week let us prayerfully consider how we are investing our time, talents, and treasures in the work of God’s Kingdom. We have been given far more than we possibly deserve through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us put this gift to good use for our Master and let Him compound it over time for His ultimate glory.
Closing Prayer (from the Book of Common Prayer, Occasional Prayers)
Almighty God, you have promised to hear the petitions of those who ask in the Name of your Son: Mercifully incline your ear to us as we make our prayers and supplications to you; and grant that what we ask faithfully, according to your will, we may obtain effectually, for the relief of our necessities and the setting forth of your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.