In the parable of the minas the servants have been “entrusted with the gospel” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). To be a faithful steward we must preach the gospel so that the mina multiplies. The servants are told they will be “over cities,” (Luke 19:17, 19) which means ruling with Christ during the Millennium.
Table of contents
- The Parable of the Minas and the Parable of the Talents Are not the Same
- Background to the Parable of the Minas
- We Have Been Entrusted with the Gospel (Represented by the Mina)
- The Parable of the Minas Looks to the Millennium
All Christians are but God’s stewards. Everything we have is on loan from the Lord, entrusted to us for a while to use in serving him.John MacArthur, 1 Corinthians, Moody, 1984, p. 108.
The Parable of the Minas and the Parable of the Talents Are not the Same
The parable of the minas is one of the premier parables on stewardships. It is similar to the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30, but they are not the same. Here are the main differences.
- The parable of the talents was preached on the Mount of Olives after Jesus already reached Jerusalem, but the parable of the minas was preached on the way to Jerusalem.
- The parable of the talents deals with three servants, but the parable of the minas deals with 10 servants and some number of enemies.
- In the parable of the talents the three servants receive five talents, two talents, and one talent. But in the parable of the minas the 10 servants receive one mina each.
- Talents and minas are different amounts:
- A talent was about 20 years’ wages.
- A mina was about three months’ wages.
- In the parable of the talents the two faithful servants doubled their investments, but in the parable of the minas one servant reports earning tenfold and the other servant reports earning fivefold.
- In the parable of the talents the faithful servants receive the same reward, which was hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” But in the parable of the minas the faithful servants are put in charge of cities corresponding to the investment they returned.
Be encouraged that even if you’ve heard teaching on the parable of the talents, this parable is different and hopefully you will learn some new truths.
Background to the Parable of the Minas
In Luke 18:31-34 Jesus foretold his death a third time. Luke 18:34 says, “But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.” Jesus spelled out how he would die, but they didn’t understand.
Jesus is about to enter Jerusalem. But because they don’t believe he is going to be killed, they think he is going to set up the kingdom! He is the Messiah, the Son of David, who will sit on David’s throne.
Passover is only a few days away, which makes the anticipation for Jesus’s kingdom even stronger. It was always an emotionally charged time for the Jews because it reminded them of their deliverance from slavery in Egypt and made them even more upset about their bondage to Rome. During Passover the Jews looked forward to the Messiah delivering them from Rome like Moses delivered the Hebrews from Egypt. And this is the context for the parable of the minas:
Luke 19:11 As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12 He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’
Jesus preached the parable of the minas to dispel the belief that he would be setting up his physical kingdom soon. The nobleman is Jesus, and the far country is heaven. This is Jesus’s way of saying, “I not setting up my kingdom on the earth right now. I must ascend to heaven and I will set up my kingdom when I return.”
Jesus preached the parable of the minas because wants his all his disciples, including us, remaining faithful between his ascension and return. The servants were supposed to use the minas, or money, to do business. When the master returned they were supposed to give back to him more than they had received.
We Have Been Entrusted with the Gospel (Represented by the Mina)
In the parable of the talents, the talents represent the gifts and abilities God has given us. The servants received different amounts because we have different gifts and abilities. But in the parable of the minas, each servant receives the same amount, one mina, because the mina represents the gospel, which we have all received in equal measure. Numerous commentaries made this point:
Matthew Henry wrote: “The principal difference [from the parable of the talents] is that the [mina is] the gift of the gospel, which is the same to all who hear it; but [with] the talents…God gives different capacities.”
With that mina each of these servants must do business. That is the point of the parable. Those who have heard the gospel must proclaim it!William Hendrickson, New Testament commentary: Luke, page 860.
Joseph Benson wrote the 10 servants and the mina given to them represent: “The apostles and first preachers of the gospel, to whom Jesus gave endowments fitting them for their work, and from whom he expected a due improvement of those endowments in the propagation of the gospel [and] all who did or should hereafter profess to receive his gospel, and to be his disciples and servants.”
It is fitting for the minas to represent the gospel, because the New Testament says the gospel is something we have been entrusted with, like a stewardship:
1 Thessalonians 2:4 We have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.
1 Timothy 1:11 The gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
Maybe you have never thought of the gospel as one of our most important stewardships, but I would encourage you to do so. If someone asked you about the most important stewardships in your life:
- Maybe you would say, “I have children. I have to be faithful to them.” I’d say, “Amen!”
- Or maybe you would say, “I’m married. This is one of my most important stewardships. I must be faithful to my spouse.” I’d say, “Amen!”
- Or maybe you would say, “God has given me time and money. These are two of the most important stewardships in my life, so I must be careful how I spend them.” I’d say, “Amen.”
The parable of the minas should encourage us to see the gospel as one of our most important stewardships as well.
Faithfulness with the Gospel
1 Corinthians 4:1 [We should be regarded] as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, IT IS REQUIRED OF STEWARDS THAT THEY BE FOUND FAITHFUL.
“The mysteries of God” refers to the gospel. We’re stewards of the gospel and faithfulness is required. This means spreading the gospel with others so that your mina multiplies.
Perhaps there’s someone you’ve felt burdened to share the Gospel with. Maybe it’s a coworker, neighbor, fellow student, or family member. And maybe you’ve been procrastinating! You’re like the servant in Luke 19:20 who said, “Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief. It’s nice and safe for you, Lord.”
If you’ve been putting off preaching the gospel, you could be bordering on unfaithfulness. Maybe you have been telling yourself, “I’m waiting for just the right moment.” But deep down you know this is just an excuse. I hope this parable encourages you, like it encourages me, not to put off preaching the gospel any longer. Make a commitment to preach to that person, or those people, God has put on your heart.
God Judges Our Faithfulness Versus Our Sin
Luke 19:15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.
The master is going to return and expect all his servants to give an account of what we have done with the mina, or gospel, that has been entrusted to us. This introduces one of the more common questions I receive as a pastor: “Will Christians be judged?”
Yes and no. Our sins are not judged, because they were judged and paid for at the cross. But our faithfulness as stewards will be judged. This occurs at the Judgment Seat of Christ:
Romans 14:10 We will all stand before the judgment seat of [Christ].
Paul’s use of the word “we” shows he’s talking about himself and other believers.
2 Corinthians 5:10 We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
We will give an account of our stewardship, and if we’ve been faithful, we will be rewarded.
The fact that the “evil” we have done is mentioned leads me to believe the sins we committed will result in loss of rewards. If you say, “I won’t be punished for my sins,” that’s true. But it’s also true that when we sin we forfeit eternal rewards. This is what Paul meant when he wrote:
1 Corinthians 3:15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved.
This means loss of rewards, but not loss of salvation. We remain saved.
The Parable of the Minas Is About the Spread of the Gospel
Luke 19:16 The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’
The first servant multiplied the mina he was given so that it produced 10 more minas. Maybe this means ten people came to Christ because of his preaching?
Paul praised the Thessalonians for spreading the gospel, or we might say multiplying the minas that were given to them:
1 Thessalonians 1:8 The word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, [and] your faith in God has gone forth everywhere.
The gospel sounded forth from the Thessalonians in such a way that Paul said it went forth everywhere. Maybe this is why Paul asked them to pray for him to be able to multiply his mina, or spread the gospel, as well as them:
2 Thessalonians 3:1 Brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you.
The Multiplication of Minas (Spread of the Gospel) in the Early Church
Acts 1:9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
This is the Ascension. This is Luke 19:12: the nobleman going into a far country to receive a kingdom for himself.
Acts 1:15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said,
There are 120 believers. Peter preaches in Acts 2:14-39, and then:
Acts 2:41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
This is the multiplication of minas. We just went from 120 believers to 3,120 believers.
Peter and John were preaching:
Acts 4:4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
Now we multiply to 5,000. We went from 120, to 3000, to 5000. The apostles were preaching:
Acts 5:28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
We are not given an exact number, but the apostles multiplied their minas so much they filled Jerusalem with their teaching, or with the gospel. This was serious multiplication in the early church, and it reveals God’s desire with the minas he entrusts us with.
Faithfulness with the Gospel Is Rewarded with Greater Responsibility
Luke 19:17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’
The master was pleased with the servants. It is encouraging that God is pleased with us even if we have only “been faithful in a very little.” If I thought I had to be faithful in very much to please God, that would be discouraging.
The servants went from being servants to rulers. They got huge promotions. They were put in charge of cities. Their faithfulness earned them more responsibility. We don’t typically think of this as a reward, but the reward for faithfulness is greater service in the future.
The Parable of the Minas Looks to the Millennium
Jesus told the servants they would have authority over cities corresponding to the number of minas they returned. We are repeatedly told in Scripture that church age believers will rule and reign with Christ. Let me go through some of the verses making this point and then I will explain what this means.
Revelation 2:26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and [the one who conquers] will rule [the nations] with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.
Jesus is speaking to the church at Thyatira. He says he will give authority over the nations to the one who conquers, which is another way to refer to a believer. This is a quote of Psalm 2 where God the Father promised the Son that he would rule the nations, and Jesus says he will give us some of the authority that the Father gave him.
Revelation 3:21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Jesus is speaking to the church at Laodicea. Again, he gives authority to the saints, going so far as to say that we sit on his throne with him.
Revelation 5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
This is the throne room of God. The “them,” or the “kingdom and priests” is the church, and we “reign on the earth.”
1 Corinthians 6:2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels?
It says judge, but I take this to mean rule. Because it is talking about judging, or ruling, angels we could think this means in heaven. But in Revelation 5:10 it says be reign on the earth, because it is talking about reigning with Christ during the millennial kingdom.
Daniel 7:18 The saints of the Most High shall RECEIVE THE KINGDOM…22 the saints POSSESSED THE KINGDOM. 27 And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven SHALL BE GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE OF THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH.’
Daniel is probably the most prophetic book in the Old Testament and numerous verses prophesy that man rules over the kingdom.
The Prophetic Timeline
- Jesus’s Ascension
- Then the Church Age we live in, which is Jesus’s spiritual kingdom established on the earth.
- Then the Rapture of the Church – Church age believers receive glorified, incorruptible, immortal bodies.
- Then the Seven Year Tribulation, which the church avoids because we were raptured to heaven. And this is important: during the Tribulation there is a great spiritual harvest. So even though the church was raptured, other people come to faith.
- Then Jesus’s Second Coming from heaven WITH the church that had been raptured (Revelation 19:11-16)
- Then the Battle of Armageddon – and this is also important – the unbelievers are executed and believers from the Tribulation enter the Millennium (Revelation 19:17-21).
- Then the Millennium, which is Jesus’s physical kingdom established on the earth with the church ruling with Christ.
- The Battle of Gog and Magog: unbelievers from Millennium defeated (Revelation 20:7-10)
- Then the Great White Throne Judgment: unbelievers are sent to hell (Revelation 20:11-15)
- Then the New Heaven and the New Earth, and we no longer reign with Christ during this eternity.
I know we have been covering a lot. Let me connect the dots to the parable of the minas. Jesus is going to Jerusalem to be crucified, but many people believe he is going to set up his kingdom on the earth. He preaches the parable of the minas to encourage his disciples, including us, to be faithful until his Second Coming when he returns and THEN establishes his kingdom on the earth. We call this the millennium.
People who have been faithful with the gospel will be given authority to rule over cities during the millennium.
Who Are We Ruling Over During the Millennium?
Let’s answer this by looking at the clearest verses describing the millennium:
Revelation 20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit (or abyss) and a great chain.
The pit is the temporary prison for demons who possessed people. When Jesus confronted the demons who said their name was Legion, Luke 8:31 says, “They begged [Jesus] not to command them to depart into the abyss.” The devil is imprisoned in the abyss during the Millennium:
Revelation 20:2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit (or abyss), and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.
The devil isn’t cast straight into hell because God has one more task for him, which we will see in a moment.
There are two groups of people in the Millennium. The first group is church age believers in glorified, immortal bodies ruling with Christ. This is us and we are described in Revelation 20:4:
Revelation 20:4a Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed.
We rule over the second group in the millennium, which is humans in corruptible, mortal bodies, like our current bodies. These people repopulate the earth and they have children who must decide for themselves whether to submit to Christ. So, during the millennium the earth will be filled with believers and unbelievers, who we reign over.
Sadly, many will not submit to Christ, which brings us to the next on the prophetic calendar:
Revelation 20:7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.
These are unbelievers who follow Satan when he’s released. Then the judgment for all unbelievers:
Revelation 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
If you’re in Christ, you will never stand before the Great White Throne, which is the terrifying judgment unbelievers face when they pay for their sins by spending eternity in the lake of fire.
Why Are We Entrusted with the Gospel?
Revelation 14:6 I saw [an] angel flying directly overhead, WITH AN ETERNAL GOSPEL TO PROCLAIM TO THOSE WHO DWELL ON EARTH, TO EVERY NATION AND TRIBE AND LANGUAGE AND PEOPLE.
During the tribulation God has an angel fly around the world preaching the gospel to everyone. If God could have an angel preach the Gospel during the Tribulation, he could have an angel preach the Gospel during the Church Age.
Am I the only one who thinks angels could probably do a much better job than us? They don’t have to worry about persecution. They don’t have flesh that would tempt them to be proud, selfish, or fearful. They can fly! How much more effective would they be just this reason. We have been spending centuries trying to spread the gospel throughout the world and we still have unreached areas. Yet during the tribulation one angel reaches the whole world. But for reasons that I don’t know, God has entrusted us with the Gospel.
I don’t know what more important stewardship we could have. If we are faithful, we receive greater authority when reigning with Christ. If God has put on your heart to share the gospel with someone, but you’ve been putting it off, consider the gospel delivers us from the lake of fire and transfers our eternity to the New Heaven and New Earth.