by Rankin Wilbourne
About Rankin: Rankin is the Lead Pastor of Pacific Crossroads Church in Los Angeles, a town that he enjoys because it turns around the idea of story and the need for a redemptive ending. Rankin lives with his wife Morgen, who grew up in New York City, along with their daughter and son. He enjoys sports, poetry and music, especially Bruce Springsteen. For more about Rankin, click here.
In this season of Advent, as we celebrate God’s grace coming to us, you might find yourself wondering, “If the Christian life is all of grace, what then does God expect of me?”
Cue the story Jesus tells in Luke 19: “He said therefore, “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 [a mina was about 3 months wages] and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come’” .
As opposed to Matthew’s version of the story, in which the servants receive different amounts of talents, in this telling, each receives the same gift. What does Jesus give in equal measure to every one of his followers? The gospel, a new identity, this is our coin. Each of us is given a vocation. The parable means that no Christian can any longer say, “I am insignificant.” Almost every other story in the Bible denounces pride, while this story is unique in denouncing humility.
In which of these servants do you find yourself portrayed?
There are two servants who did their work and made a profit. They are commended, verse 17, “Well done, good servant.” Godly ambition is a good thing. It’s admirable to want to build something. The question is, for whose name? These workers receive their master’s praise. Whose praise are you living for?
Which brings us to the third servant, dutifully carrying his coins around in his handkerchief, day after day. The real surprise of Jesus’ story is that the servant is judged not because of bad investments, but because of no investments. He did nothing wrong; he did nothing right.
Jesus is not telling a story about moral failures. He is talking about fearful and careful people who do everything they can to minimize risk because they do not trust the Master enough to live by His bold instruction.
We are saved by faith alone but faith that saves is never alone. Are you using your coin? Are you taking risks?
Prayer: Father, thank you for Jesus. While we were yet neither good nor faithful servants, Jesus left his throne to enter the far county. Jesus, you are the good and faithful servant, so today in our work let our motive be to serve you, to live for the benediction you have already pronounced over us, “Well Done!” Amen.
 Luke 19:12-13