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. He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
“But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’
“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.
“The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’
“‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’
“The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’
“His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’
“Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 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.’
“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? Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’
“Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’
“‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’
“He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 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.’”
How now will you live?
Just like in our day, back in their day, the people who followed Jesus expected the “kingdom to follow at once.” Contrary to some people, we find that Jesus from the outset was trying to explain that the kingdom of God (the second coming, the eschaton, the end of all things) was not going to come instantly. It was an unknown time and the reality was that people needed to live intentionally. Jesus wanted them to understand that just because he was about to die on the cross and be resurrected that there was going to be a time where he was away.
So, the question then becomes, how now will you live?
Will we live with a sense of meaning and purpose or will we live in a state of fear?
Those really seem to be the two options before us. Two of the servants lived with purpose. They took the investment given to them and grew it. The third servant chose to live in fear of doing the wrong thing, so he did nothing.
Many of us religious folks fall into the trap of the third servant. We are so afraid of doing the wrong thing that we fail to love. Because, what has been given to us to invest if not love? How do we invest love? How do we make it grow?
I think that will be the discussion that we have with Jesus on that day we cross Jordan. We will stand before him and he will talk with us about how we loved. I have a feeling that most of us will not have to worry about loving to much, but too little.
It’s really interesting to me that every time I talk about the need to #LoveWell and to live a life with a radical basic standard of loving your neighbor and your enemy the question comes: What about truth? How do we tell people that they are wrong if we are supposed to love them?
Oh friends! What is the greatest picture of love that we have? Is it not the crucifixion? Is that not the place where we see love and justice mingled together in perfection? Nobody likes thinking about the reality that love is rooted in self-sacrifice. We want to think about love being some sort of soft and inconsequential thing. But, it’s decidedly not. It is hard, strong, and tough. To love in the way of Jesus demands all of who we are. This means that we must live with an intentionality toward the pursuit of love.
My friend, the Beard, lives with a constant sense of intentionality in everything he does. There are few people I know love like him. Whether it’s little things like how he always buys your lunch or the big things like how he and his wife Laura have opened their home to so many people who need family. He lives each day, each moment, with what appears absolute intention. I am realizing that this intentionality is rooted in his desire to love fiercely and to love well.
So, how will you live? Will you live with an intent toward a radical minimum standard of love or will you choose to live in fear? There really are no other choices. To tweak the famous movie line, “Get busy loving or get busy dying.”