MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Wednesday, August 12th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Janie B. Cheaney now on God’s kingdom construction plans.
JANIE B.CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: The Parable of the Talents in Matthew is the Parable of the Minas in Luke, and the differences are not minor. A talent was worth more than $1,000; a mina amounted to three month’s wages—a goodly sum, but not extravagant.
Luke also adds this context: The master in the story was going away to receive a crown. And his would-be subjects had already rejected him, by sending a delegation ahead to complain, “We do not want this man to be our king.” So the servants are entrusted with a considerable sum of money to invest in a hostile society.
Matthew’s use of talents may signify the immense value of what we’re given to invest; Luke’s mention of minas could suggest the limits of human time and resources. Both apply, but we should also consider the audience listening to this now-familiar story for the first time. Luke explains: They expected the kingdom of God to appear at once, now that Jesus was there to claim it.
No, he’s telling them; the kingdom must be built.
I will build my church. And my church will build the kingdom. Not on her own, not without the Son’s name or the Holy Spirit’s power or the Father’s providence.
But the kingdom is ours to build.
I forget that. I think of Jesus coming with his angels to judge the living and the dead, and that’s the kingdom, right? It will appear at the sound of a trumpet. With the world in such disarray, now would be a great time!
But Christ’s coming is when the kingdom will be made visible and apparent. It’s appearing right now. My business, every day, is kingdom business.
That business has many facets: making a living, raising a family, performing acts of charity, serving a local church—all in a culture that keeps insisting, “We do not want this man to be our king.” That’s always been the case, in churchy, straight-laced times as well as in degenerate times. The world does not want Christ as king, and never has.
So we build His kingdom in a hostile culture, brick by brick. I don’t know why he does it this way. We say, “Come, Lord Jesus,” meaning, Bring it! But he’s not going to bring it, he’s going to wrap it up as a gift to present to his Father. He’s coming to place a bridal crown on our head and take our hand to lead us to the wedding feast, with the rightful king restored and the rebellious subjects subjugated. (Don’t forget that part of the story.)
What’s my part? Where do I build? My little section of this magnificent project seems small and insignificant, but his eyes are on it, and a cloud of witnesses are cheering me on.
I’m Janie B. Cheaney.