Doing Our Part

…Then [the king] 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.”… Luke 19:15-17

I heard today about a girl who dreams of a career in music, and feels that God has given her as his vision of her life. But yet she is flunking her college music classes, partially because she hasn’t been buying the required books, because she wants to save money. Money is really tight and she’s going through a lot of personal issues. But yet, she’s actually retaking a class she flunked before because she didn’t buy the books. How does that save money?

What hit me is that she also has a somewhat flawed theology. I think her picture is that God is going to take her to the heights of success, and if she expends any effort, it won’t be in God’s plan. She sees her college profs who fail her as her enemies, thwarting God’s will. And she should just do nothing, waiting in faith for when her magical ship comes in. I know I’ve fallen into this kind of thinking myself.

I think Jesus’ parable of the minas addresses this. A king gave three servants a mina, which is coin weighing a pound of silver. One works very hard to use it and earns ten more. One works moderately hard and earns five more. One hates the king and sees the mina not as an opportunity but as a chore, and he buries it. When the king returns he puts the most industrious one in charge of ten cities, and the next in charge of five cities. The last must give up his mina, and it is given to the first, who’ll actually put it to use.

What hits me is that when God gives us something to do with our lives, its like a mina. We can hit the ground running with it, or we can do a half hearted job. Or we can assume God is evil and that he’s just giving us a terrible burden, and go bury it. The effort that we expend to reach God’s goals for us he will magnify a million times over. But we actually have to do our part! Working hard toward on something does not rob God of his glory, it submits to his will.

It hits me that actually God is being kind towards the servants in what he gives them. The industrious one will enjoy his position in charge of ten cities, but the half hearted one would find the task of running ten cities to be too much. Five cities is plenty for the effort that he feels like expending. The guy who didn’t want to do anything with the burden of investing a mina certainly won’t want to deal with the burden of running a city, so in a sense, he gets what he most desires. It’s like the king was giving them a little taste of a bigger gift and responsibility, to see if they really wanted it. I’m sure that in the same way, the woman who won’t do her homework now probably won’t enjoy the hours of practice and preparation that a career in music requires.

In the world to come, there will be good things to do, and Jesus speaks about a reward for those who have served him. Doesn’t that make you want to get to work?

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Published in: on September 27, 2007 at 7:07 am  Comments Off on Doing Our Part  
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