Ep.174: What to Do When the King Goes Away.

Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.

Jesus told this story in Luke 19: 

A nobleman went away to have himself appointed king. Some of his subjects who hated him sent a delegation saying, “Please don’t make him king!” Before he left, the nobleman gave ten servants one mina each (perhaps $30,000 in today’s money), and told them to put it to work while he was away.

When he received his promotion and came back as king, he asked the servants to report how they’d used his money. The first had turned one mina into ten; the next turned his mina into five. The king praised them for being faithful and made them rulers in his kingdom.

A third servant reported, “I was afraid of you, because you are a hard master. You take out what you did not put in and you reap what you did not sow. So I stored your mina under my mattress, and here it is safe and sound!” 

The master replied, “If you knew I’m like that you should at least have put the money in a bank account to earn interest. Give this servant’s mina to the one who has ten.” 

Then he said, “By the way, all those people who didn’t want me to be king–execute them right now.” 

I think the point of this story is that the servants had to make a difficult choice in a dangerous political situation. If their master became king, they sure wanted to be on his side; but if his opposition successfully blocked his appointment, it would be better to side with them. What to do?

Clearly, the best option was to lie low and see who wins. If the servants openly traded their money in the nobleman’s name, it would be obvious to the haters and complainers whose side they were on. Safer to stick the money under a mattress until the political dust settles. 

So the master’s invitation was not simply to engage in trade and make money; it was an invitation to trust him rather than his opposition, to work openly on his behalf in an uncertain political and economic climate, to cast their lot with him when he was hated and absent. 

When the nobleman returned as king, he did not praise the servants for being successful and making lots of money. He praised them for being faithful, for being true to him when he was away, for declaring their loyalty to him through the political and economic storm. 

Let’s pray. 

Jesus, it’s been a long time since you left to get yourself appointed king. In your absence, the world has been wracked with political and economic chaos, with religious wars, with rulers who would crucify you again if they could. We don’t see much evidence that your petition to become king has been granted. Perhaps we should play it safe, hide our allegiance to you, appear more accommodating to those who hate you.

But you are our Lord. Thank you for trusting us in your absence. We renew our allegiance to you alone, we support your cause, we trade openly in your name. 
    Though we have not seen you,
      we love you,
    And though we do not see you now,
      we believe in you,
      and are filled with joy inexpressible and full of glory
       for we are receiving the goal of our faith,
      the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:8-9).

In your absence, Jesus, we feel your presence within us. In your silence, we have heard your voice in our hearts. In your slowness to return, we have felt the gathering storm of your purpose. Grant us patience to wait and work.

And come quickly, Lord Jesus, to declare yourself openly as king.       


I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”. 

Note: For this interpretation of the parable see Bailey, Kenneth E. The Presbyterian Outlook (April 2001). Online at https://pres-outlook.org/2001/04/capitalism-and-the-parable-of-the-talents/