Put Your Mina Where Your Mouth Is
A sermon based on Luke 19:11-27
November 3, 2013 – Last Judgment Sunday
"Put your money where your mouth is." That's an English expression which means if you're really sincere about a belief you'll do more than just talk about it. If you believe in it, you'll support it. If you make a commitment, you're ready to follow through. You don't just talk, but put what's most valuable to you on the line. "Put your money where your mouth is."
Though these words weren't spoken by Christ, though they're not found anywhere in the Bible, they do have a spiritual application we can make. This morning is Last Judgment Sunday, where we're reminded that Jesus "will come again to judge the living and the dead" and all will be called to give an account before a just and holy God. That Judgment Day is coming and coming soon compels us to make the most of our time on earth before it comes. And it pushes us to follow through on what we believe, to put our money, or in the words of the parable Jesus speaks, to put our mina where our mouth is. Listen now to the parable Jesus taught in Luke 19:11-27…
11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12 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.' 18 "The second came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned five more.' 19 "His master answered, 'You take charge of five 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.' 22 "His master replied, 'I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?' 24 "Then he said to those standing by, 'Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.' 25 "'Sir,' they said, 'he already has ten!' 26 "He replied, 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. 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.'"
Before we make any spiritual applications, perhaps we first need a quick explanation to what all the parts of the parable stand for. Verse 11 helps us with that task. Luke tells us Jesus told this story because, "the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once." In other words, they thought Jesus was an earthly king who was about to establish his earthly kingdom. Jesus would correct that and point out that not only was he not going to establish his kingdom now, but that he would soon go away.
The man of noble birth then, is of course, Jesus, the most noble man who ever lived. Just as Herod had gone to Rome to receive official ruling power in Palestine, Jesus would leave this world before he would come back to rule. And of course, he has left. But he will come back again. And when he does, he will judge all people.
The subjects who hated the king, the ones who would be killed upon his return, those of course are unbelievers—those who reject Jesus' rule and prefer instead to be on their own. Judgment Day is coming. The servants, then, by obvious contrast, are believers, those who receive gifts from God to be used until Jesus returns.
But finally, to really understand this parable we need to understand what exactly the minas are. A mina is equal to three months wages, so somewhere around $10-15K today. So obviously whatever the minas represent are of great worth. What are they? Some have suggested that they're physical blessings that God has given us, other have suggested that like the parable of the talents, they're gifts and abilities we're given. But notice in this parable the master gave each servant the same amount. And you know that that's just not the case when it comes to earthly possessions or even gifts and abilities. People receive those in differing amounts.
So what do the minas represent? What is of great value that God has given each of us in equal measure that he wants us to put to good use until he returns? It can only be one thing: The gospel found in the Word of God. So why does Jesus tell this parable? To warn us to not just pay lip service to the gospel, but to be faithful servants of it, putting our faith into action, putting our money where our mouth is.
The Last Judgment—Judgment Day—is coming. And on that day all will be called to account. How will we do? Will we be like the last servant?
"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.' 22 "His master replied, 'I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?' 24 "Then he said to those standing by, 'Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.'
Why did this servant refuse to put the king's money to work? Was it really out of fear? It couldn't be. The king saw right through his weak excuses. If he was really afraid of the king, wouldn't that fear push him to do whatever he could to avoid the king's wrath? But instead he wrapped it up, tucked it away, and apparently forgot all about it. He didn't appreciate the gift that his master entrusted to him. So, the king took it away.
But how about us? Are their times when we play the role of this servant? Perhaps you've heard words like these come out of your mouth: "I don't have time for Bible Class. But come on, I go to church. I have too much to do already. I already give to church, why should I try to give more? I have a hard enough time making end's meet! I'm not very comfortable talking about my faith. What if I say the wrong thing?"
I understand that we all have lots to do and that our time is limited. I understand that money doesn't come in endless supplies. I understand that sharing your faith can be intimidating. And so does God. But we have to ask, "Do I always put my mina where my mouth is? Do I always put God's Word to work in my life? Or do I make excuses?" …
Let me answer for you. No, you don't always give the gospel the honor and respect it deserves. Neither do I. We let our Bibles gather dust, we let busy schedules crowd Jesus out, we live selfishly. And for these sins God has every right to take his gifts away. He has every right to take away his Word, to take away the promises found inside, to take away forgiveness and heaven itself.
But he doesn't take them away. Instead he does for us, as the king did for his servants: 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.' Notice where the servants got the money from. The king gave it to them. They didn't earn their mina. We're given no reason to believe they deserved it. It was a gift from their master.
And so it is with the gospel. The good news that a man of noble birth, Jesus, the very Son of God, came to earth and to the cross to take the punishment we deserve for our laziness, our apathy, and our neglect of God's precious Word—this message is entrusted to us. It isn't given to us because we're special. It's certainly not because we're sinless. But we receive the gift of God's Word—the good news—and the grace and forgiveness we find in it only because we have a gracious God.
And he's made it clear that he doesn't want us to tuck it away in some safety deposit box. He wants us to invest it like the two faithful servants: 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.' 18 "The second came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned five more.' 19 "His master answered, 'You take charge of five cities.'
How does God want us to invest the mina of the gospel he's entrusted to us? Two ways: He wants us to study it and he wants us to proclaim it.
And just look at the investment opportunities we have! The opportunities you have to grow in your faith abound! You have an opportunity to worship here at church every week! You have opportunity to attend a Bible class every Wednesday! You have Meditations, email devotions, the Bible on the web, on CD's, on MP3's, hundreds of quality books to read or hear! You have so many opportunities to invest the gospel in your own life!
And the opportunities you have to share your faith abound! Demographics show that 1 out of every 3 Alaskans don't claim to be Christians. And how many of those other 2 are actively attending somewhere, growing in their faith, preparing for Judgment Day?
What opportunities surround us! Look at the opportunities we have to share the gospel with the children and families of the school here by our service, our support and our prayers. Look at the opportunities to invite a friend to hear the Word of God—at worship, at Bible class, or perhaps less intimidating, at a coffee shop, or even in your home! Look at the opportunities we have to support the gospel work we can't do ourselves as we walk together in a synod full of believers that share our exact same faith!
So let's make the most of every opportunity that God gives to invest the mina of the gospel that he's entrusted us. Sure, it may be hard work, sure it may not always be fun, but we still do it gladly! Because our Savior did the real work for us in dying on the cross and we're grateful for it. Because Judgment Day is coming and coming soon and we don't want anyone to suffer the fate of those who reject the king! Because we're promised that our investments will pay off and God in his grace will reward us richly.
We may not be put in charge of any cities for faithfully serving God, but that's okay because God promises we'll get something even better. As we grow in God's Word, as we go with God's Word, God will strengthen our faith. We'll grow more certain that we are God's children, forgiven and holy, with no fear of Judgment Day. We'll be certain we will live forever in heaven. And we'll continue to re-invest that faith as we serve him faithfully until that great and glorious day!
And when he does return at the Last Judgment we'll be able to see the return on our investments. We'll stand among the saints in heaven (some of whom are there because of us) and we'll hear our master say to us, "Well done, my good servant[s]!" That Day—Judgment Day—is coming soon. Let's work while we can. Let's work faithfully. We've been entrusted with the gold coin of the Gospel! We've been given great opportunities to use it for the eternal benefit of others. So let's get to work and put our mina where our mouth is! In Jesus' name, dear friends, amen.