Hello everyone. Welcome to this week's Upstream Teaching blog.
Last week we explored the Parable of the Talents. The Parable of the Pounds is similar.
Let's read it in Luke 19:11-27.
A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
In a similar way to the servant in the Parable of the Talents, the last servant doesn’t invest because he has the wrong image or understanding of the King. If you missed last week's blog, you can learn more about that here.
As believers, we have no reason not to invest the 'pound' that God has entrusted to us. Look at how generous the Lord is with us in this. The reward we are looking at in heaven is beyond our imagination! Take your 'pound' and invest it because you can’t lose, you can’t go wrong!
We are talking about Kingdom Life and we are in the final 'chapter' entitled 'The Heart of the King's True Subjects'. Within this chapter, there are 8 headings.
1. The King's true subjects have had a transplanted nature. They have become brand new people.
2. The King’s true subjects understand they are stewards of everything they have.
3. They love the King, not His stuff (didn’t say we don’t enjoy His ‘stuff’ but we love the King more!).
4. They trust in the King’s grace not their own performance.
5. They obey the King’s commands.
6. They love one another.
7. They are confident in prayer.
8. They watch and wait for the King’s return.
We are on point number 2. The King’s true subjects understand they are stewards of everything they have. These stewards invested their 'pounds' because they loved the King and were not afraid of Him. Unlike the final servant who was afraid. He’s had the wrong view of the King and subsequently didn't invest.
God wants you to be blessed and to prosper. But, He doesn’t want you to become covetous. Matt. 6:22-23 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
He’s talking about money. Covetousness is idolatry. It is impossible to serve both God and money.
Further reading: Matt. 6:24. Luke 16:13.
The Servants of the King understand that they are stewards. They love the King more than His money. Have you ever seen a woman go after a man for his money? That’s not how it should be for us as the King's True Subjects. The benefits of our relationship with Jesus should not be our primary goal. They are a bonus, 'fringe benefits' if you like. Our focus must be on relationship with the King, serving Him and knowing Him more and more. The blessings follow because God is generous and kind and we should receive gladly, but that should not be why we pursue God in the first place.
Luke 12:13-23 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
In this parable, Jesus is telling us to make sure we are not deceived and to recognise that life is so much more than possessions or money. ‘Thou fool’ says the Lord! I don't want the Lord to say that to me, do you?!
1 Timothy 6:10:
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
And also 17-19:
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
This is a hard-hitting approach to this issue but it also says in Colossians 3 that idolators won’t be in heaven. So, I don’t know about you but I appreciate the warning!
The King’s True Subjects do not covet money. Money isn’t evil, it’s the love of it that’s the issue. Prosperity is different, remember. You don’t have to covet money to be blessed financially. But when your sense of worth, your identity comes from how much money you have, or don’t have, then it’s moving into idolatry.
Lazarus and the Rich Man is another great parable that Jesus tells to warn us about this very issue. This may have been a true story, but that doesn’t really matter here. Trusting in riches, hoarding wealth because it’s where we get our identity and worth, is idolatry. Plain and simple. So if you are finding that you think more about money than you do about your relationship with Jesus, it might be time to make some changes.
Further reading on financial stewardship and walking in God's blessing can be found here
We hope this has been a blessing. Do please share this blog with anyone who you feel might be blessed by it.
You are loved,
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