Scripture Focus: Luke 19.11-13
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.’

Reflection: Until I Come Back
By John Tillman

It bothers me when interpreters contend that there is only one possible message or lesson from a given passage. It’s prideful and often plainly false. For example, Paul used a regulation about animal husbandry to teach that pastors deserve payment for their work. (1 Corinthians 9.9-11; 1 Timothy 5.17-18) If the passage only has one lesson to teach, which is it? Animal ethics? Or ministerial ethics? Of course, it’s both and even more than that. God’s word is living and active. (Hebrews 4.12) Guided by the Holy Spirit, ministers bring out of it things both old and new. (Matthew 13.51-52

However, context and the author’s intent are two of the main tools of good interpretation, and they often give us what I would call the primary or first-order interpretation.

Luke consistently included the context of Jesus’ parables. Knowing the situation, event, debate, or question Jesus was responding to helps us understand the intent of the story, which in turn helps us interpret the story’s primary meaning.

Minas and talents (Bags of gold from a similar parable in Matthew 25.14-30) are both financial terms for a certain amount of money, measured by weight. The minas parable in Luke is tightly focused on the immediate situation. Jesus was about to enter Jerusalem. Jesus’ followers thought the kingdom was about to start right then by taking control of the city. They pictured an insurrection and an overthrow led by a powerful king.

The talents parable is part of a trilogy of parables on spiritual neglect. The parables of the virgins, the talents, and the sheep and goats illustrate what it will be like when the Kingdom of God comes.

The minas story mentions taking control of cities and making Jesus king, but not at the expected time. There was work to do first. The talents parable and its partner parables warn Christ’s followers that we have been given opportunities to know him, resources to cultivate for him, and needy people to serve for him. How we respond reveals whether we are part of his kingdom or not.

Jesus desires to call you “friend.” How have you responded? Are you keeping him at a distance by neglecting your “mina” or your “lamp?” What have you been given to steward and cultivate? Are you burying it or planting it so it can grow?

Use well what Christ gives you until he comes back, remembering that knowing him is the greatest gift.

Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading

Jesus taught us, saying: “Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire. I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.” — Matthew 7.15-20

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

​Today’s Readings
Zechariah 10 (Listen 2:11)
Luke 19 (Listen 5:29)

Read more about God Forbid
God forbid that we would make decisions based on politics rather than truth

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