Going Into All the World as Witnesses for Christ Is Our Job Even When the Culture Is Hostile

Luke 19:11-27: "A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas and said to them, 'Engage in business until I come,'‚ÄČ..." This sounds familiar: "the parable of the talents," wherein the servants are entrusted with the master's money while he's away. We settle in for an exhortation to use our gifts as we have opportunity.  

Not so fast. Luke adds, "But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We do not want this man to reign over us.'" We usually skip over this part, or assume that the nobleman is off to become king of another country, whose citizens don't want him. No, it's this country, our country, that doesn't want him--he's going away to be crowned and will come back as the unwelcome king. Welcome or not, his servants' responsibility is the same. 

Christians live in a hostile culture, wherever and whenever they happen to be born. Sometimes it's more obvious than other times, but in every era, the majority will say, "We do not want this man to reign over us." Maybe they say it out loud, in a political convention that shouts down the token mention of God in their party platform. Maybe they say it in a popular vote that approves a definition of marriage foreign to the master's law. Or they say it in a general loosening of standards that sends illegitimacy rates up and credit ratings down. 

Whatever lip service they give to the notion of a higher power, their actions speak loud and clear: We do not want this man to reign over us.

What's a faithful servant to do? Stockpile groceries, check the ammo, double the locks and hunker down? Maybe save a little extra for those foolish virgins who didn't prepare and come hammering on the door when darkness falls? The story of the minas doesn't seem to leave us that option. Instead, "Engage in business until I come."  

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Janie B. Cheaney

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