Serving the King of Kings in a World that Hates Him
Jesus presents an extraordinary parable in Luke 19:11-27. It’s the parable of the minas. In this story, a nobleman departs to a distant land to receive a kingdom and then return as king. Before the nobleman departs he gives each of his slaves one mina – money that amounts to about 100 days’ wages. Then he tells his slaves, “Do business with this until I return.”
But there is trouble in the kingdom that the nobleman leaves behind. His own citizens hate him. They hate him so much that they send a delegation to the higher authority that they do not want this nobleman to reign over them. This is a problematic situation – not only for the future king but also for the slaves he’s left behind. They will face the fierce hatred of the citizens. They will have to listen to the constant criticism of the citizens against their master and future king. This means that there’ll be relentless societal pressure against the slaves to be distracted from their devotion to their master.
Well, the nobleman finally returns – but this time as king, whose will shall be law. The first thing the king does is to call his servants to give an account of their service in his absence. The first slave tells his king, “Master, the mina you gave me has made ten more minas.”
The king responds, “Well done, faithful slave. You’ve been faithful in a very little thing, therefore you shall rule over ten cities.” Because of his faithfulness to the king – in a land that hated him, this slave goes from being a slave to being a ruler. Other slaves give similar reports to the king and are likewise made rulers in his kingdom.
But then a slave approaches the king. He has nothing to show his king except the mina he originally received. He’s rendered no service whatsoever in his king’s absence. And what are the reasons for his neglect? He accuses the king of being an unfair master. Where in the world did this slave get the idea that his master was such a terrible person? Most likely, this slave was influenced by the citizens who hated his master. His view of his king was poisoned by their hatred and, with contempt for his king and the work the king commissioned him to do, he neglected his primary purpose. The king demotes this wicked slave and takes away the little he has and gives it to the most productive of his slaves.
Bible scholars have noted that this parable parallels a historical event during the childhood of Jesus. For when King Herod the Great died, his oldest son, Archaelus, departed for Rome to receive authority to reign in his father’s place. But his subjects hated him so much that they sent a delegation to Caesar, objecting to Archaelus’ rule. And they suffered Archaelus’ wrath when he returned.
But this parable has a profound application to Christian believers at this troublesome time. For Jesus has ascended to heaven to receive power, authority, and a Kingdom that shall have no end. And He will soon return to rule and reign upon the earth and reward those who’ve remained faithful to Him in a world that hates Him.
And like the slaves of that parable, we Christian believers are slaves as well. We are not free to choose our own destiny and to “do our own thing” on this planet. We have a commission from the King of Kings and owe our complete allegiance to Him. But we live in a world whose citizens hate our King. They slander Him and mischaracterize His movement and His slaves. Yes, because we are the King’s slaves we suffer persecution from the world’s citizens on His account. But the King has told us that such persecution is a mark of honor and a reason for rejoicing (Matthew 5:10-12).
But we slaves cannot allow ourselves to be caught up in a conflict with those citizens. We are called to bless those who curse us, to forgive them, to pray for our persecutors and those who cruelly abuse us (Matthew 5:38-48; Romans 12:18-21; 13:8-14). And we must not forget that, at His return, we who are mere slaves now will then rule at Jesus’ side in His Kingdom (Revelation 20:1-10).
But until the King returns, there will be relentless pressure from the world’s citizens to adopt their views, values, and causes. The King’s slaves will be tempted to seek this world’s approval, to become like it, and to neglect the work the King has given them. They will even forget that they’ll one day stand before the King of Kings, face to face, and give an account for what they’ve done or failed to do (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).
Isn’t that the state of many churches today? Far too many pastors and servants of Jesus are nothing more than mouthpieces for the world. Their sermons only echo what they watch on CNN and MSNBC. They don’t satisfy the souls of hungry and thirsty saints. More likely, they discourage God’s people and make them feel it’s futile and foolish to take the Bible seriously and devote their lives to Jesus. Such pastors will preach about saving the whales, combating global warming, fighting against the “war on women,” and promoting “Black Lives Matter.” They have been swayed by the world to embrace whatever is politically correct at the moment. But in the end, their net service to the King of Kings will be null – and they’ll pay the price for their neglect.
But we must not allow ourselves to be distracted from pure devotion to our Lord Jesus. Nor should we allow ourselves to become enmeshed in a political, ideological, or physical conflict with those who hate us and our Lord. We must always keep Jesus front and center in our minds – who prayed for his murderers from the cross (Luke 23:34). And we must never forget that our conflict is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Our weapons are prayer, faith, truth, love, and the word of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). The only way for America to be transformed and saved is from the inside out – beginning with every human heart. And only God has the power to soften, open, and change the hearts of men and women. Only the Spirit of God can remove our hearts of stone, replace them with Spirit-born hearts, and fill them with His own presence and love (Ezekiel 36:26-27). That’s what America needs.
In a way, I’m amazed that so many Christian believers, who own so many guns, have not responded in kind to the violence that afflicts so many cities. I pray that it will remain so. For we must never repay evil for evil. That will defeat us. I pray that God’s people will go to their knees and beseech the Lord that He will fight for them – that He will destroy the devil’s works, overthrow his strongholds and suppress all his activity – in Jesus’ name. Let’s go to our knees before Jesus and fight the real battle that’s going on in America.
PRAYER: Almighty and merciful Father, we pray through Jesus Christ Your Son, for You to bless and save our troubled nation. Please, dear God, pour out Your Spirit upon us – as You promised through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-32). Please, dear Father, by Your Spirit divine, turn our hearts to You in faith and repentance – and to each other in love and reconciliation. Just as You send a prevailing wind across our plains – so strong and relentless that it bends trees in one direction – may Your Spirit blow across this land and be the prevailing force in America to bend our hearts more and more to You. Just as You resurrect billions of trees every spring, filling them with life and clothing them with leaves and fruit – after a long winter’s death – please raise our hearts from death in trespasses and sins and fill us with Your power. Breathe a mighty revival throughout our land. Awaken our conscience, open our blind eyes, and reveal Your Son to us. Put in our hearts a hunger and thirst for righteousness – and an abhorrence and loathing for sin. Forgive our many sins and save us, O God, we pray, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.