‘Occupy till I Return’

The Parable of the Ten Minas in Luke 19 is similar to the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25, but they are not the same.  Some people assume that they are the same parable, but there are enough differences to warrant a distinction.  The parable of the minas was told on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem; the parable of the talents was told later on the Mount of Olives. The audience for the parable of the minas was a large crowd; the audience for the parable of the talents were the disciples by themselves. The parable of the minas deals with two classes of people: servants and enemies; the parable of the talents deals only with professed servants. In the parable of the minas, each servant receives the same amount; in the parable of the talents, each servant receives a different amount (and talents are worth far more than minas). Also, the return is different: in the parable of the minas, the servants report ten-fold and five-fold earnings; in the parable of the talents, all the good servants double their investment. In the former, the servants received identical gifts; in the latter, the good servants showed identical faithfulness.

While the end game, for lack of a better term, is the kingdom of heaven, the command from the nobleman is that his servants obey him and do his bidding in his absence.  For the past 2,000 years the Church has been doing the Master’s bidding and winning souls for His kingdom.  For this blog I should like to focus on the Parable of the Minas and share relevant insight as it relates to what we are supposed to be doing just before the Rapture of the Church.  While we don’t know the day or hour of the Lord’s return, we can know the season as described by Jesus in Matthew 24.  I believe that we are currently living in the season of the Lord’s return.

The Parable of the Minas:

“Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’”                                                     – Luke 19:11-13

  • As we begin to study this passage and parable we can see right out of the gate that Jesus’ followers believed that His kingdom, the kingdom of God, would manifest in their day (aka ‘immediately).  As a result Jesus gave them (and us) this parable, the Parable of the Minas.

Jesus said that ‘a certain nobleman went into a far country.’  This is a foreshadowing of the Christ as the nobleman and His ascension into heaven from the Mount of Olives just forty days after His resurrection.  Before the noblemen leaves, he entrusts ten of his servants each with the equivalent of 30 months’ salary. 

The nobleman’s instruction is to ‘do business till I come (return).’   Other translations of this command say it this way: KJV – ‘occupy’ / NLT – ‘invest’ / NIV – ‘put this money to work’ / NCV – ‘do business with this money’ MSG & WYC – ‘Operate with this’ / RSV – ‘trade with these’

“But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.” – (vs.14)                                                                                                                                                   The citizens hated the nobleman and therefore hated his servants with whom he entrusted them to do business with.  Their attitude toward the nobleman was that ‘they would not have this man reign over them.’  It would seem that the citizens were not as noble as the nobleman or his servants and therefore they rebelled against him and the effort of his servants to do business with them.

When Trump was in office the world was a better place, even though for four years the liberal left constantly barraged his effort to make necessary improvements to our nation and the world. While Trump was not perfect, his efforts were in the best interests of our nation and we prospered under his leadership; much to the chagrin of the left.  They would not have this man rule over them; four years later they enacted a coop de ta and stole his landslide election win from him, thus denying him, and the rest of the world, a second term. 

The result is now manifesting before our eyes as this nation and the nations of the world drift into an irreversible path of destruction.  The liberal left doesn’t seem to care; they just wanted Trump out of office.

“And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ 19 Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’”                                 – (vs.15-19)

  • In this passage we can see how the nobleman rewards his servants.  He gave each of his servants the same amount of investment opportunity and empowered them ‘to do business.’  The first and second servants were evaluated and rewarded.  The first servant was able to duplicate the mina ten times over and the second servant, five times over. Each was rewarded according to their accomplishment.

This speaks to the Bema Seat Judgment when every believer will be rewarded according to their work done as unto the Lord.  Jesus said for us to ‘lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven.’  This reward is reflected in this parable and the joy that is associated with the servant’s rewarded and the Master’s permission for them to enter into His kingdom as a result.  This isn’t works righteousness, it’s a just a reward for our faithfulness to the Lord.

“Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are an austere (severe, screwed) man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?”                                                 – (vs.20-23)

  • This rebuke challenges the laziness of a believer who takes in, but does not put out for the Lord.  This is the kind of person who misrepresents the Lord and the message of the gospel by living in a way and saying things that are inconsistent with the Master’s great commission. 

The nobleman stated that at the very least the servant could have put the money in a bank where some interest would have been made on the investment.  While little is much in the kingdom of God, nothing is still nothing and produces the same, nothing.  The Lord has called us all to produce fruit for His kingdom.  People who don’t produce fruit do not display the fruit of repentance or a life wholly yielded to the Lord. 

Some people may never lead another person to the Lord, but at least they can represent the Lord in the way they love others and support the work of the church.  Teaching a Sunday School class or helping with a missions project are all part and parcel to the service of the Lord.  More specifically, living a holy and righteous life is our reasonable service of worship that is both expected and required by the Master if we ever want to see Him.

“And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ 25 (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) 26 ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”                                                                     – (vs.24-26)

  • Here we can see in this passage that nothing done for the Lord doesn’t yield anything for the person not producing.  All the wealth in the world does no good to an individual who is not willing to have this Nobleman rule over them.  We may benefit from the nobleman’s policies, but in the end, if we don’t obey His commands, the little or nothing that we may have will be taken away. 


“But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’” – (vs.27)

The inference here is that the ‘so-called’ servant of the nobleman was not even saved.  As a result, he not only disobeyed his master’s command, but he was also slayed before him.  This is a picture of a person who claims a faith in God through Christ but doesn’t obey Him.  These are people who think they are saved by their version and interpretation of the Bible and the lifestyle they live reflecting it; but is misaligned with the Master’s Word.

This close to the Rapture, the term ‘occupy till I return’ has a whole new meaning.  We don’t know ‘the day or hour’ for sure because if we did, we would tend to cease from our labors and just wait for the Master to return.  This was not His command. We are to occupy and do business; this means we are to be about the Lord’s business and we are to be about our own business, which is a reflection of our faith in God.  In Luke’s gospel we see a contrast to this parable and some even greater detail in what is expected of believers just before the Master’s return in the Rapture of His Church.

The Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant:

“Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36 and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38 And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 40 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”                                         – Luke 12:35-40

  • While the circumstances and setting of this parable are different than the parable of the minas, the principle of being active and about the master’s business and ready for him when he returns is made very clear. So it is with us as we wait for our Master’s return and we are about His business, working where He has called us to when He returns for us.

The phrase, ‘let your waist be girded and your lamps burning’ speaks metaphorically to a person who has their work clothes on and are at work, doing the Master’s bidding.  It also speaks to them having the Holy Spirit of God in them; that is they are saved and active about the Lord’s business.  In essence we are to be a saved person who is properly outfitted for the work the Master has called us to do and we are to be doing it.

We’re not only to be saved and working, but we are also to be watching and aware of the times and seasons in which we are working.  We are to be a people who are looking up but also looking out; that is, planning forward to future work the Lord is preparing us for.  The same way that we keep watch over our own things and property, we must be diligent to keep watch for the Master’s return and be mindful that He can return at any time.  I believe that this can also imply that we can go to be with Him at any time via death.  This is why we are to maintain a constant state of readiness in our Christian lifestyle and thought.

“Then Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?42 And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”                            – Luke 12:41-48

  • We are called to be both ‘faithful and wise’ in our stewardship of what the Lord has entrusted to us; this means things, people, and resources.  We will have to give an account of all of it at the Bema.  Jesus said that we will be ‘blessed’ if, when at the Master’s return, He finds us about His business assigned to us.

The opposite of this has more to do with a person who tires of doing right and begins to drift in their faith and patience regarding the Lord’s return.  They tend to get entangled in the affairs of this life which acts as a major distraction for them and a loss of ministry relevance for those who would have otherwise been blessed by their service and their obedience.

The Apostle Paul said it this way,

“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” 

    – Galatians 6:8-10

May this not be so among us, but that we would be like this wise and faithful servant who is about the Lord’s work, occupying, doing business, and advancing God’s kingdom in the way He has enabled them to do so. This includes being a good steward of everything the Lord has given to us, even when under duress.

“You therefore must endure (share) hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”                – 2 Timothy 2:3,4

Enduring hardship is part of the ride if you’re walking with Jesus. Some days are better than others, but our faith and trust must always be in the Lord. To the more successful among us who love the Lord, these same will benefit as they invest in the kingdom of God through their tithes and offerings and their talents and service.  We are to share our faith with others and do our best to represent the Lord in all that we do.  This is part of the ‘doing business’ till He returns that we are to be occupied with when the Lord returns.

So brothers (and sisters), don’t lose heart in all of your doings, keep the faith, serve the Lord Christ and make every day, every opportunity work for the kingdom of God. 

Blessings and Maranatha,

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