And as they heard these things, he added and spoke a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem…
I. THERE ARE HERE TWO SETS OF PERSONS. We see the enemies who would not have this man to reign over them, and the servants who had to trade with his money. You are all either enemies or servants of Jesus.
II. We now advance a step further, and notice THE ENGAGEMENTS OF THESE SERVANTS. Their lord was going away, and he left his ten servants in charge with a little capital, with which they were to trade for him till he returned.
1. Notice, first, that this was honourable work. They were not entrusted with large funds, but the amount was enough to serve as a test. It put them upon their honour.
2. It was work for which he gave them capital. He gave to each of them a pound. "Not much," you will say. No, he did not intend it to be much. They were not capable of managing very much. If he found them faithful in "a very little" he could then raise them to a higher responsibility. He did not expect them to make more than the pound would fairly bring in; for after all, he was not "an austere man." Thus he gave them a sufficient capital for his purpose.
3. What they had to do with the pound was prescribed in general terms. They were to trade with it, not to play with it.
(1) The work which he prescribed was one that would bring them out. The man that is to succeed in trade in these times must have confidence, look alive, keep his eyes open, and be all there.
(2) Trading, if it be successfully carried on, is an engrossing concern, calling out the whole man. It is a continuous toil, a varied trial, a remarkable test, a valuable discipline, and this is why the nobleman put his bondsmen to it, that he might afterwards use them in still higher service.
(3) At the same time, let us notice that it was work suitable to their capacity. Small as the capital was, it was enough for them; for they were no more than bondsmen, not of a high grade of rank or education.
III. Thirdly, to understand this parable, we must remember THE EXPECTANCY WHICH WAS ALWAYS TO INFLUENCE THEM. They were left as trusted servants till he should return, but that return was a main item in the matter.
1. They were to believe that he would return, and that he would return a king.
2. They were to regard their absent master as already king, and they were so to trade among his enemies that they should never compromise their own loyalty.
3. I find that the original would suggest to any one carefully reading it, that they were to regard their master as already returning. This should be our view of our Lord's Advent? He is even now on His way hither.
IV. Now comes the sweet part of the subject. Note well THE SECRET DESIGN OF THE LORD. Did it ever strike you that this nobleman had a very kindly design towards his servants? Did this nobleman give these men one pound each with the sole design that they should make money for him? It would be absurd to think so. A few pounds would be no item to one who was made a king. No, not it was, as Mr. Bruce says, "he was net money making, but character making." His design was not to gain by them, but to educate them.
1. First, their being entrusted with a pound each was a test. The test was only a pound, and they could not make much mischief out of that; but it would be quite sufficient to try their capacity and fidelity, for he that is faithful in that which is least will be faithful also in much. They did not all endure the test, but by its means he revealed their characters.
2. It was also a preparation of them for future service. He would lift them up from being servants to become rulers.
3. Besides this, I think he was giving them a little anticipation of their future honours. He was about to make them rulers over cities, and so he first made them rulers over pounds.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.