purpose, take ten
~Peter Thiel made an investment of $500,000 in Facebook in 2005. In 2012, he sold 80% of the shares he owned for $400 million, a return of 800x his original investment.1
~Asa Candler scooped up Coke for $2,300 in 1891 and sold it for $25 million in 1923. Bringing a return of 833x his original investment.
Then there’s Microsoft and Apple, right? If only we had known.
Have you heard about the Parable of the Minas? Turns out it is a Return on Investment story too. This story ought not be confused with what Jesus taught his disciples, the Parable of the Talents, where different levels of gifting were invested in a few.
Teaching the ‘Bring it Home’/Saturday night message at a retreat very recently, I felt God led me to teach this difficult passage from Luke’s gospel. I didn’t quite get how it fit with a retreat, that Jesus’ teaching was somewhat difficult, but trudged ahead nonetheless. So please take a few minutes to read this lesson, considering as you do—R.O.I., Return on Investment. (Stick with it, please)
The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said [notice, this parable was spoken to a crowd of people]. And because he was nearing Jerusalem, he told them a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away.
He said, “A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return. Before he left, he called together ten of his servants and divided among them ten pounds of silver, saying, ‘Invest this for me while I am gone.’ But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We do not want him to be our king.’
“After he was crowned king, he returned and called in the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to find out what their profits were. The first servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made ten times the original amount!’
“‘Well done!’ the king exclaimed. ‘You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.’
“The next servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made five times the original amount.’
“‘Well done!’ the king said. ‘You will be governor over five cities.’
“But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, ‘Master, I hid your money and kept it safe. I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn’t yours and harvesting crops you didn’t plant.’
“‘You wicked servant!’ the king roared. ‘Your own words condemn you. If you knew that I’m a hard man who takes what isn’t mine and harvests crops I didn’t plant, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’
“Then, turning to the others standing nearby, the king ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’
“‘But, master,’ they said, ‘he already has ten pounds!’
“‘Yes,’ the king replied, ‘and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. And as for these enemies of mine who didn’t want me to be their king—bring them in and execute them right here in front of me.’” Luke 19.11-27
Let’s talk about what we have here – Jesus is using financial investment as a metaphor for ALL that God has given us and the return that he is looking for. What if all of life is an investment?
Jesus clearly articulates that the coming King calls for a return on his investment. What has he invested in us? What has he given us to work with?
•Take note: in the story, each of these servants was given the same amount and the King made sure they understood that he was going to return. This wasn’t their money or their profit. It all belonged to him.
•Every Christian has been entrusted with what they need to invest in the kingdom of God until Jesus returns. JESUS IS COMING BACK! This is not a YOLO thing it is a YODO thing.
So if all of us has been given the same MINA – at the time of Jesus' teaching, a mina was a gift of three months’ wages. What does that look like for us today? What are the things we all have been given to invest? Because like the king in Jesus’ story, Jesus, our King is coming back, and when he does, he will take stock of how we have invested what he has given us. Like what?
Keeping it real, we all have the same 24 hours in a day, we all have equal access to the Father,
most of us have access to the Word of God, his promises,
~the Holy Spirit of God to live inside of us – to lead, guide, comfort, to pray for us! ~Christian community, the church – God’s people gathering, not to be internally focused, but to share the good news of the Kingdom!
~Unique Gifting – 1 Cor 12, Rom 12 – “spiritual gift” ~Prayer . . . just for starters!
How are you and I investing the simple gifts we have been given to love others? How are we using these gifts to honor God and tell others about him? For in the intersection of these—loving God and loving others-- we find our purpose.
lots of love,