March 20 – Devotion Sharing (Luke 19)

Submitted by James K. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Luke 19:11-15

  • Jesus told a parable in response to the people’s thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.  What lesson was Jesus trying to convey through the parable?  

The people were clamoring and waiting for the kingdom of God to come at once.  They were under Roman rule.  They were following a rabbi who was performing miracles and amazing acts.  And yet Jesus tells this parable to the people to tell them that the Kingdom of God would not come at once.  But to remind them that while their king is going to be away, they would need whatever was given to them at work until the king does return.  This parable was told in order to temper the desire for a quick solution to their problems and to remind them of the continual working out of their faith they would need to do.

Luke 19:16-21

  • What are the small matters that I have not been faithful in, and what are the reasons for my lack of faithfulness?  

Some small matters are in my own daily spiritual disciplines.  They are the things that are unseen by other people.  I can so easily tell myself that I have so much to do in a given day and take less quality time in reading through the given text for that day, take shortcuts and not spend the adequate time to read more into the text, and write the same things that are easy to do on how to apply the text to my life.  In prayer, I can be just mouthing the words I know how to say, feel like I am putting my “time” in with God, but never truly connecting.

The reasons I give for my lack of faithfulness are a lot of self-rationalizations that make sense to me at the moment.  I can tell myself that “I have no time”, “I have too much to do today”, “the text just seems too complicated”.  While other times I can just simply be mentally lazy in willing to really dig into the text and find ways God is trying to speak to me.  Through all this, I see that so much of the reason why I lack faithfulness is based on my own will and catering to my own comforts than seeking to obey God.

  • The reward of work well done was to be entrusted with more responsibilities.  What view of rewards does this challenge?

The common view of rewards in the world is that once you are rewarded for hard work, you can relax and take in the benefits of all the hard work done.  The rewards of life being relaxation, more security, and comfort.  To work hard in the world, make a lot of money, and be rewarded with a life that is easier and less stressful than when you had to work hard to get there.

Jesus tells this parable to challenge this notion.  He speaks to how He rewards those who have been faithful with even greater tasks, greater responsibilities and having to manage more.  In fact the picture he paints is that life will get harder, with more things to have to get done.  There is a sense that God needs more workers who are faithful, and is ready to just pour out more of this work to those who share in His heart and goals.

  • What is the fundamental difference in the way the faithful servants viewed the master, as depicted in v. 16 and v. 18, and the way the third servant viewed the master, as depicted in v. 21?

The fundamental differences between the servants are how they viewed themselves in the masters household.  The first and second servants who were faithful with their minas knew fundamentally that they were servants.  That their sole work and priority was to obey whatever the master told them to do and do their best.  They didn’t have any feelings about it or wanted to find excuses not to do it.  They just knew this was their duty as servants.

The third servant on the other hand, was more focused on how he looked in front of the master instead of his own role as servant.  He talks about how he was afraid of the master and was making excuses and assuming things about the master.  The reality was that he was given a specific task that he needed to get done which he never fulfilled.  He didn’t have that proper sense of his own identity and his role as servant.

Luke 19:20-23

  • What character flaws did the third servant possess from the fact that he had the one mina “laid away in a piece of cloth”, and did not even “put the money on deposit”?
  • How consistent is his action with the excuse he gave?

The servant excuses himself by saying that the master was a hard man, taking out what was not even put in and reaping what was not sown.  He was implying that the master was one who demanded too much from what was not even put in.  He was doing the same in that he wasn’t given much to work with but was demanded a lot from.  The main problem the master had with the servant was that there was inaction and nothing done.  He just gave excuses and assumptions instead of doing something with what was given to him.

  • Are there some ways in which I am quick to blame God (or others) rather than facing my own immaturity or wickedness?

In a lot of my own struggles with sin I am very quick to blame everything else other than myself.  In cases of my own laziness, selfishness, and my own pride, I am quick to blame the fact that I was tired, that I had a “bad” day, that I just wasn’t thinking, or that the circumstances that I was in was out of my own control.  I often tell a story where I end up being the good guy.  That it wasn’t really me that decided to be selfish, it was just something I did that I won’t do again.  When I compare myself with the servant, I realize how I gave the same kind of excuses.  Instead of just admitting that I did nothing to work or do anything, basically admitting true reality, I paint a picture that places me in a good or sympathetic light.

PERSONAL PRAYER                                                           

Please write out a prayer of commitment or confession either based on today’s text or upon reflection over recent events in your life.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I am reminded of the work you seek to involve me with.  Lord, often I get focused on how much I can do or the kind of impressive things I can do in front of other people instead of focusing on the fact that I need to serve and honor you above anyone else in my life.  Please help me see that just as I have been entrusted with your word and Gospel and the people that You have placed in my life, so I need to work and live in obedience to you so that I can multiply what was given to me.  So often I have given excuses and have done things that take me further away from connecting with you.  I just know that in the end, I am broken and pathetic sinner who has been given the privilege to redeem my life by being able to serve you.  I pray that I can always keep this in mind and only seek to obey You in all that I do.  That I can be pleasing and faithful only to You and what you have entrusted to me and that this could be the only goal and priority in my life.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Submitted by Grace K. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Jesus is king whether people like it or not. The king will return and judge. The subjects that hated him and sent a delegation to tell them that they did not want him to be king were brought back to be killed. He also judged each of his servant based on what they did with the minas that he entrusted them with.

I think the subjects that hated him and did not want him to be king are the people who are blatantly against anything God and against accepting his authority over their lives.  They claim their lives as their own and want to have the freedom to do anything they wish. But the fearful truth is that the king is coming and they will bear the consequences of rejecting him as king.

Those entrusted with the minas are the believers. These servants are equally given 10 minas with instructions to put the money to work. Although they were given the same amount of time until the king returned, what they had to show for were different. The first servant that earned 10 more probably invested much time and effort to add to how much he initially received, trying to maximize his resources. I imagine this servant to be one who prioritized doing his master’s work, being pleased to show what he had earned when the king returned. I imagine the second servant to be half as industrious, perhaps having given himself time to rest, with the attitude that what he earned was good enough. He had some productivity to show for. The third servant had nothing to present to the king and he blames the king for why he has nothing. He says, “I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man…” He presents the master as one who is hard to please, demanding, and one who he feared for these reasons and he tries to justify his inaction. But his reason doesn’t follow because if he were indeed fearful of the master, he would have been proactive about doing something with the money so that he has something to show for. In reality, he must have spent that time the master was gone to do whatever you wanted to do, not caring for the minas that were entrusted to him, and being plain lazy.

I think the servants symbolize all Christians because we are all equally given the same gospel, with the instruction to add to the numbers of those who are being saved (ref. Matt 28:19-20). The question then that follows is “how faithful have I been with this entrustment?”  I remember a time when I said of God, “You are a hard God, impossible to please with your high standards, always making me feel guilty.”  I said this to justify my inaction and laziness. I was actually preoccupied with my own life, concerned about my own comforts and happiness in marriage, and I did not see the great value of the gospel entrusted to me.  A lesson I can learn from this is that I need to be honest with what I value in what I really want and own up to my ineffectiveness and lack of fruit. I need to say to God that I am not giving my all because I get caught up with my personal concerns, I value my emotional and mental comfort more, as well as my reputation that only gets me as far as doing just enough not more. Then I have a chance to repent.

The King’s response to the first servant that earned 10 more is to entrust him with 10 cities because he was trustworthy in a “very small matter.” One way that I can earn God’s trust and additional responsibilities with his work is by being faithful with these “very small matters” that I have been entrusted with. Concretely, these small matters in my life are administering childcare, ministering to a group of younger sisters, and to InterHigh students. Before God can share more of his heart with me for the world, I need to be faithful in sharing his heart with these individuals who need to be taken care of.  I realized that I need to be a lot more proactive in thinking about ministering to them in caring for them, that when God the king comes I can confidently say that I have done my best.

 

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