Parable of the Ten Minas


This parable is in the Gospel According to Luke, 19:11-27. It is an essential teaching for believers to learn to value obedience and that there are degrees of reward for the servants of God. There are three distinct classes of believer in this parable which I see as believer, disciple, and overcomer. As you study this parable, determine whether or not you see it the same way. If not, how do you see it? What is the reasoning and scriptural support for it?


Beginning in verse 11 we learn that the disciples of the day were expecting that the “Kingdom of God was to appear immediately.” This is not unlike today as some people expect a rapture to take place at any moment as they wait for deliverance out of this world and its problems. I was once numbered among them as I kept busy in the church without bearing much fruit. To some effect, this expecting sudden deliverance causes a paralysis that keeps believers from enthusiastically and effectively working for the Kingdom of God. There is an expectation for God to do something rather than working to do what God has instructed us to do.


Jesus told this parable to those who were with Him at the home of Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector. I believe this parable is instruction for His disciples, believers with ears to hear. It includes warnings for those who do not heed the command to engage in His business until He returns.


He said therefore, “a nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.

Luke 19:12


I believe the nobleman would equate to Jesus.

  • This took place immediately before Jesus went up to Jerusalem and the Triumphal Entry
    • He was about to complete His work on the cross
    • He would then ascend into heaven after giving His disciples the great commission
  • The far country: ascension into heaven by Jesus
  • Receive for himself a kingdom: Jesus was to be seated on the throne
  • And then return: second coming; Jesus will return


Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’

Luke 19:13


  • Ten: divine order; law
  • Ten servants: an order to God’s business
  • Ten minas: an order to how we do God’s business
  • They were ordered to continue doing his business, on his behalf, until he returned
  • Ten servants: like the ten virgins, some wise, some not so much
    • Bondservants: so, they chose to work for this master
  • A mina was about three months’ wages for a laborer
  • Until I come: a foreshadowing of the return of Christ
    • He will return with judgment for the world
      • For the believers: what did we do for the Kingdom with the gifts He has given us?
      • He rewards those who faithfully go about doing His business


But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’

Luke 19:14


  • His citizens: mankind; the citizens of this world through the ages
  • Hated him: those who are not with Christ are against Him
    • The world hated Him first


Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Matthew 12:30


“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”

John 15:18


It is no secret that there are those in this world that hate Christ and all that goes with Christianity. Back to verse 14 of Luke 19.


  • Delegation: body of representatives, a deputation
  • Sent a delegation: those who hated him sent the delegation
    • One group that hated Jesus was the religious leaders
    • Another group is those of an anti-Christ spirit
    • They persecuted and crucified Christ Jesus
    • They did not, and do not, want to submit themselves to His reign


When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.

Luke 19:15


  • When he returned: the master did indeed return as he said he would
    • This foreshadows the second coming; Christ’s return with the saints; coming with judgment
  • Having received the kingdom: how ever it worked in the story, the master received the authority to rule this kingdom
    • Jesus ascended into heaven and to the throne; King of kings and Lord of lords
      • He took back the keys (authority) from the enemy
    • He calls the people to come for judgment: to judge their performance with what he gave them
      • Jesus will come in judgment
        • Believers: for their works of obedience, or lack thereof
        • Unbelievers: for their lack of acknowledging Christ and His rightful place upon the throne


The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’

Luke 19:16


  • The first: represents the group who diligently went about the business of the kingdom while the lord was gone
    • Applies to the story and to believers who did the same
  • Ten minas more: they kept order as they did their business, maximizing the investment and return
  • The servant comes with an excellent report


And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’

Luke 19:17


  • The lord was pleased with the servant
    • Pleased with the effort and attention to business
  • The reward was in line with the work done
    • Effort and success combined to gain the reward
  • We are in a time of training and testing
  • The reward is there for the faithful
  • The reward is determined by what we do with what He has given to us
    • Our effort, sacrifice, and success


The second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’

Luke 19:18


  • The second servant represents the group who did some business for the kingdom while the Lord was away
  • Five minas more: a smaller return than the ten minas, but a return nonetheless
    • Perhaps due to lesser giftings and talents
    • Perhaps due to lesser effort and passion
    • Possibly their doing, maybe not
      • It is possible they maximized what they were able to do
      • It is possible they weren’t single mindedly going about the work


And He said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’

Luke 19:19


  • Again, the reward was commensurate with the fruitfulness
  • It appears, whether the five or ten, the reward is proportionate to the result
    • Not effort or intention


Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief;’

Luke 19:20


  • This one represents a group of servants who don’t really serve much at all
  • Little to no effort is exerted
  • No fruit is produced
  • What was received was returned; unused, basically idle
  • This servant was lacking somewhere
    • Possibly lacking knowledge and understanding
    • Possibly lacking passion, zeal, or effort
    • Possibly slothfulness
    • Possibly ineptness
  • It’s not that nothing was done
    • The mina was safeguarded and returned
  • But lack of fruitfulness equals lack in rewards


‘For I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’

Luke 19:21


  • This type of fear paralyzes one, preventing success or accomplishment
  • He had some knowledge of the Master
    • He lacked the intimacy which leads to understanding
    • His lack of understanding led to miscalculations
  • All belonged to the Lord, as it was His kingdom


He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow?

Luke 19:22


  • Fear and unbelief in the heart will manifest in word and deed, or lack thereof
  • What understanding the servant had was not disputed
    • Knowing this, yet you did nothing
  • Our sin is not only in commission, but likewise in omission; in failing to do what ought to be done


‘Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’

Luke 19:23


  • Knowing something was expected, doing nothing, to produce no fruit, was not an option
  • A minimal investment, minimum effort, would have produced at least a little fruit
  • What will the response to us be if we do not invest what we’ve been given; if we do not use what we’ve been given to work with?


And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has ten minas.’

Luke 19:24


  • Those who stood by: other servants? Those who were not being judged at the time?
  • Take the mina: loss of the gift and no reward
  • Give the mina: the gift will be given to someone else who will use it
  • To the one who has the ten minas: faithfulness and fruitfulness leads to expansion of opportunity and reward


And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas.’

Luke 19:25


  • The others were looking at fairness according to man’s ways and the world
  • The Lord already knew that the other servant already had ten; he said it himself
  • Was envy or jealousy setting in?
  • Did they not like the Lord’s judgment? His justice?
  • Man’s perspective and the Lord’s perspective are often very different
  • It is error to have a sense of entitlement


‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.’

Luke 19:26


  • Who has and who has not: refers to fruitfulness
  • Even what he has: the gifts or assets to be put to work in the kingdom
  • Not using what was given will lead to the loss of it all together
  • The faithful and fruitful will be given even more to work with


‘But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’”

Luke 19:27


  • Those who would not acknowledge the rightful place of the Lord, those who continued in rebellion against him, are dealt with in a judgment all their own
  • Destruction awaited them
  • The unfruitful servant at least acknowledged the Lord and his position to rule the kingdom
    • Though he lacked reward, he was spared due to his proper belief
    • There was opportunity for reward, but it was lost due to fear and lack of faith to accomplish what was assigned to him
      • He was not an overcomer
    • Like those who objected in verse 25, there are believers who think all should be equal in the Kingdom
      • Rewards, position or status, rights
      • In this life they object to what they perceive as inequality and unfairness
      • In eternity they will understand in truth
        • The sin of envy, and pride, will not be permitted to stand
      • Some believers are unfruitful
        • Content to do what they determine to be their religious duty
        • No sacrifice and little effort
        • No lasting spiritual fruit
        • They may remain believers and be spared, but without reward or advancement of position
      • Some believers put forth an effort that produces fruit
        • They become disciples and do what they believe they can do to follow Christ
        • They may fail to give maximum effort
        • They may fail to step out in faith
        • They may fail to go very far beyond the natural
        • They may fail to love sacrificially for the sake of the Kingdom
        • They fail to overcome the obstacles of this world
        • They do produce fruit and they do receive reward, though not the maximum of either
      • Some believers that have become disciples will prove themselves to be overcomers
        • Having overcome obstacles
        • Having overcome setbacks
        • Having overcome ties to things of this world
        • Having overcome the struggle to die to self
        • Having overcome temptations and attacks from the enemy
        • Having overcome by the blood of the Lamb
        • To the overcomer is maximized fruitfulness relative to what has been given to him/her to work with
        • To the overcomer is given the highest reward, honor, and position
        • The overcomer participates in the first resurrection
        • The overcomer reigns with Christ for the thousand years between resurrections
        • The overcomer is a priest to God and to Christ Jesus
      • So, in this parable we see the progression of faith and action; faith and works


So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Romans 10:17


  • Shama: “to hear’ and “to obey”


So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2:17


And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek him.

Hebrews 11:6


When He comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for God and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of the Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:10-12


  • Faith and works are entwined
    • Fruitfulness comes in obedience to the call of God, thus glorifying Christ
  • Our works will be made manifest, that is, our fruitfulness
    • The result reflects how we built upon the foundation
    • How we built will determine the gain or loss of reward


Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each one’s work will become manifest, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Corinthians 3:12-15


  • Our obedience and works in faith matter
  • As in the parable, some will miss the rewards and lose what they have
    • Though saved as through fire
  • Some will receive great rewards for using what they had to build well on the foundation


I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Romans 12:1


  • Overcome the world to live and love sacrificially for one another and for the Kingdom