The cloth in which he laid away his master’s mina was meant for wiping the sweat off his brow as he labored with all his might to put his master’s money “to work” until he “came back” (Lk 19:13).
My incredulity about any earthly servant actually doing that with his master’s money (and then having the gall to blame his master for his own inactivity!) is silenced by the reality of how powerful the temptation is to do precisely that with the law and gospel Jesus entrusts into my clay hands.
Why is it such a strong temptation to lay up his mina in the cloth that should be sweaty from wiping my brow after much zealous labor?
Perhaps because I do at times quietly quarrel with Jesus that he is indeed a “hard man” who seems to hold me responsible for changing hearts. My discouragement leads me to believe that sheathing the Spirit’s sword is less painful than facing disappointment after disappointment when one after another of the targets of my sword thrusts appears to successfully sidestep the intended cutting (and healing). Could it also be that I’m more likely to put the gospel on lay-away for others whenever I’ve begun to do the same in my own heart?
The answer to this temptation in every form is remembering that the mina entrusted to me is not some harsh demand of a sadistic master but a rich gift of a merciful Savior. His eagerness that his gospel be at work in the hearts of others through me is matched only by his desire that his gospel bring its intended comfort to me. He knows full well that I have no hope of being considered faithful with his mina unless he first declared me to be so in his substitutionary ministry and death. He also knows he must continue to supply strength to my heart when the labor seems long and hard. All empty excuses for slothful service dissolve when I remember that not only is the mina his gift, so is the will and the power to be faithful in its use!
God’s continued blessings brothers until that Day comes when, with perhaps as much stunned surprise as joy, you file your final report which reveals a 500% or 1000% return on investment! Such is the earning power of his mina!