This article on Luke 19:11-28 is about the Word of God as a gift to us and how we work with the Word of God.

Source: The Outlook, 1984. 3 pages.

Luke 19:11-28 - Trading With the Pound

He said therefore, a certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called ten servants of his and gave them ten pounds, and said unto them, 'Trade ye herewith till I come...

Luke 19:11:27

Trading with, doing spiritual business with, "the pound" is the churches' business throughout the ages. According to the parable, faithfulness in that "job" will be the one criterion according to which the church and all individuals who have received a pound will be judged in the day of Christ's return. Of doing that or of neglecting to use that pound we will have to give an account in that great day.

At this time of the year, in October, we are reminded of the great Reformation that took place in Europe during the sixteenth century. That Reformation made the church aware again of receiving the gospel "pound." The Reformation gave especially three important blessings to the church. In the first place it restored to God's people the truth of the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice. Closely connected with this, it reaffirmed the truth that we are justified not by works, nor by faith and works, but only by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. And last but not least, the Reformation restored to the church the precious Word of God which teaches salvation by faith in Christ alone. How precious this Word was to the saints of that time! Some paid as much as five hundred dollars for a handwritten copy of the Bible. Others would rent the Bible for one or two hours per day. Can we imagine anything like that today?! In God's special providence, the printing press was soon invented which made it possible for the masses of common people to receive and read the Word. The church flourished during this time. Hearts were on fire for the Lord. Many also suffered persecu­tion because of their confessed faith in the Word. And thousands sealed their faith with their blood. That's part of the history of the Reformation and the years that followed it.

The parable of the pound is much like the parable of the talents. In both of them we read of an owner or nobleman going into a distant country and entrusting to servants at home money TO WORK WITH. In both parables we read that these servants made gains, some more than others. In both of them we read that one hid the talent or pound, not using what he had received. Both of them were severely punished for neglect, or refusal. The one big difference between the two parables is that in the parable of the talents one received more talents than another, while in the parable of the pounds all received the same amount, one pound. Limiting our at­tention to the latter, the question therefore is, what is it that all people in the church receive in the same measure? The rich and the poor, the great and the small? Surely not of gifts or abilities, or opportunities. In these there are big dif­ferences. The common answer of Bible scholars is that the pound can refer to only one thing, one gift, and that is the Word of God. This all people in the church receive in the same measure. In the parable each servant is to do business with the pound. To Christians and the church, the Word is to be spiritual capital with which we are to work in our lives and in the world. It must be preached, taught, applied to our lives at home and on the mission field. It must be our source of life and strength. As the sword of the Spirit it must be our spiritual weapon. And the use of it produces manifold blessings. Notice that in the parable it is the Word itself that makes all the gains. Man can only use the Word. It is the Spirit through the Word that produces.

Luther once said:

I have done nothing, the Word has done it all.

In the entire work of the church, it is the Word with its power that gives the increase.

The responsible use of this "pound" is abundantly taught in Scripture. One psalmist says that he has hidden God's Word in his heart that he would not sin against the Lord. Another one says that the Word is a Lamp for his feet and a light upon his pathway. Still another one says that the Word causes his heart to rejoice and that it gives understanding to the simple. Another psalmist expresses it so strongly that the Word is more precious to him than gold. This simply means that the Word means more to him than money or becoming rich. Because of the supreme importance of the Word, the true church has made the preaching of it the most important part of the Christian service. We must want it to be the content of our songs, giving us true joy and happiness. The one purpose of missions is to bring this Word to others. Parents want it to control the education of their children. The use of it, with prayer, is the heart of our family and per­sonal devotions. The memorization of it has given untold blessings to saints, especially in times of need, in persecu­tion and in the evening of their lives. Good Christian living requires that we feed our souls with it every day as we feed our bodies with physical food. And all this is true because it is the inerrant, infallible Word of God.

The importance of trading with this pound can never be over emphasized.

The "society season" in our churches is again upon us. Let us be faithful in the use of the pound by studying and discussing the Word of God. That is one of the great prin­ciples which was restored to us in the Reformation.

The nobleman in the parable returned, to obtain from his servants a report of what each had done with his pound. This means that Jesus is coming back. We all know that, and con­fess it, as Christians. All people will be judged by Him as Lord. According to this parable, the one criterion of judg­ment will be what we as a church and as individuals have done with the pound given to us. How much have we con­fessed this Word and used it as spiritual capital in our own lives? We here encounter the same truth which appears in many other parts of Scripture, that we will all be judged ac­cording to our works, as the fruits of faith.

In the parable one servant's pound produced ten more pounds, another's five more pounds. This means, of course, that there will be differences in the amount of fruit the Word has produced in our lives. The criterion of judgment will be how well we have preached the Word, listened to the preaching, how faithful we will have been in the church, how many fruits of the Word were brought forth in our lives, fruits of faith, love and godliness.

One man hid his pound in a napkin. He had received the same amount as the other two, but did nothing with it. He is the "sham" Christian, the church member who does nothing with the Word, either for himself or for others. Many people in the church are like that. They may be members, attend services, and even read the Bible formally in the home. They may even have expensive Bibles on "display" in their homes. But they are not really "with it" or "in it." Their use of the Bible is only traditional. They do not have a deep and humble respect for the Bible; they lack the real spiritual hunger and thirst that can be satisfied only by diligent use of the Scriptures.

This kind of lethargy is the greatest threat to the Christian church today, at least in our country. These people are or become the luke-warm church members like those of the Laodicea church. They get neither "hot or cold" about real issues in the church or denomination. In their lives the Lord does not find the real fruits of faith. Piety and love. Do we possibly belong to their number?

True Reformation children are those who use the pound and are deeply conscious of the privileges and responsibilities of doing so. They have a deep respect for this precious Word and love it. Attending church services faithfully as well as family and personal use of the Word have a first place in their lives.

Here the eighty-year-old can sing with the five-year-old:

I have a wonderful treasure
The gift of God without measure
And so we travel together,
My Bible and I.

Such love for God's Word continues to characterize the real Reformation, in 1984 and until Jesus comes back.

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