Parable of the pounds

As Jesus drew nearer to Jerusalem, those with him became excited, thinking he was about to establish a world-conquering kingdom. Jesus corrected their misunderstanding by telling them a parable (Luke 19:11). He was like a man who was entitled to a kingdom, but who had first to go to the seat of power in a distant country to have his kingdom confirmed, after which he would return to claim it. Before he left for the distant country, he gave an equal amount of money to each of ten trusted servants, who were to use it to promote their master’s interests during his absence. The meaning was that Jesus would soon leave the world, but he gave to each of his servants the task of living for him in such a way that his kingdom would continue to grow (Luke 19:12-13).

The citizens in the parable did not want the new king, and in like manner the Jews did not want Jesus (Luke 19:14). But the loyal servants (the followers of Jesus) continued to work for their master. When he


returned he examined their work and rewarded each according to his diligence. If the servant used his master’s money profitably he was rewarded; if he was lazy he suffered loss. The master did not expect all the servants to be equally successful, but he accepted no excuses for laziness (Luke 19:15-25).

For the followers of Jesus the lesson is that those who work diligently find that their ability increases, and so they are given more responsibility. Those who are lazy find that they lose whatever ability they have, and cannot be trusted with any further responsibility (Luke 19:26). For those who reject Jesus the lesson is that they will suffer a terrible judgment (Luke 19:27).

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