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How To Become A One Mina Man

Hello. My name is Tom Terry. Perhaps you’ve heard of me. I’m somewhat famous. In fact, I’m in the Bible. Maybe you’ve read about me. I’m that guy in Luke 19. You know, the servant who hid away the mina that his master entrusted him with—the one mina man. 

Okay, so I’m not “that” guy. But I’ve felt like it quite often, and I’m sure that you have, too. If you’re a Christian, then you’ve probably had the experience of feeling like you are not doing enough to build the kingdom of God on earth. In some cases, what we feel is true, and in some cases, it is false. We worry, and when confronted with a new ministry opportunity or testimony, we say these familiar words, “Oh, I could never do that.” Or, “I’m scared of doing that,” to whatever it is that we might be asked to do with church, a ministry, or a missionary. When people hear that I spent ten years in Mongolia as a missionary, I often hear those very words, “I could never do that!” In fact, of all of the excuses I’ve ever heard about not doing a particular thing, the biggest one, and the biggest lie, is, “I could never do that.”

Instead of venturing out to take a risk in our service to God, we plant our butts firmly on the couch, TV remote in hand, and use our excuse to entertain ourselves, believing that since we’re “already in” when it comes to Heaven, so we don’t have to do much more. But, oh, my friend, how wrong we are.

So allow me to help you become all that you can be when it comes to being a failure in God’s kingdom. I can do this because I’ve been down that road more than once. In fact, I’m down the road too often, even now. I’m an expert in this, and I want to help you become the one mina man you were meant to be. First, take a look at the story of the one mina man in Luke 19:12-27, then I’ll give you seven sure-fire ways you can also become a one mina man like me.

In Luke 19 Jesus told this parable. “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 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.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; 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.’ 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? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ ‘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. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’”

Let’s use the words of the one mina man to help us discover how we can become just like him.

1.) Make false assumptions about God

The wicked servant’s assumptions were false because he deemed the master to be unreasonable, all the while forgetting that the master trusted him with wealth in proportion to his gifts. Yet he had the resources and the same opportunities as the other servants. But his false assumptions kept him from doing what he was commanded to do. How about you?

2.) Blame God for your inadequacies

The master gave minas according to the gifting of each servant. So, the servant was able to do what the master expected, but the servant focused on his false assumptions and then blamed the master for it. Have you ever said to God, “I can’t do that?” Moses did exactly that. “Lord, I am not eloquent!” Moses said that. Then he repented. Then, he led 2 million people to freedom.

3.) Assume God won’t punish you

By saying to the master, “Here is your mina” he demonstrates that he is trying to justify himself. In other words, ”Here you are, master, you have what is yours; I was good not to lose it.” But no amount of self-justification will hold weight with God. We cannot justify our inactivity in God’s kingdom. Remember Jonah. He ran away from God. Then, he was disciplined. Then, he repented and preached to a city and saved more than 150,000 people.

4.) Assume you are good enough for God

This is a tricky one. The lazy servant only did the minimum, expecting to retain his status. But he actually demonstrated that he was not only not good enough (none of us are), but that he mistakenly thought he was good enough for the master, even in his rebellious state. He thought that if he didn’t lose the mina that would be enough to satisfy the master or perhaps keep him off his back. Big mistake. None of us are good enough before God. It is what the master gives us that allows us to demonstrate the value he places on us.

5.) Disobey God

The servants were told to conduct business until the master returned. The lazy servant did just the opposite. He didn’t do business; he avoided using his gifts. We are supposed to be about the master’s business, expanding the Kingdom of God with the talents he has given us. To not be involved in expanding the kingdom is to disobey God. Queen Esther was afraid to appear before the king. Then, she took the risk at the cost of her life. As a result, she saved her entire race from extinction. Obedience brings life.

6.) Accuse God of sin

By telling the master that he took up what he did not sow, he essentially called him a thief. He also called his master “severe,” which is another way of saying that he was an unfair man. However, the master is shown to be fair in that he rewarded the other servants according to the ability they exercised. Jesus is a fair master. Never accuse God of sin. We might say that the wicked servant had no faith or trust in his master. If we do not have faith or trust in Jesus, then we show ourselves to be wicked and deserving of punishment.

7.) Do not use what God gives you

The mina was not something of small value. According to the current price of gold, a standard gold mina would be worth about $6,400 in today’s economy. Ten Mina’s, as in the parable, would be worth $64,000 in today’s economy. The point is simply this: God gives us gifts of great value and he is trusting us with the use of those gifts for his kingdom. What you have to offer is not cheap or of little value.


Now, let me get serious for a moment. When I say that I’m a one mina man, I’m not kidding. For many years I struggled with whether or not I had anything to offer God’s kingdom. It took me a long time to realize that what I had to offer was not mine in the first place, but it was what God had given me. I languished for years, afraid to teach, afraid to speak, afraid to contribute. I’m just one uneducated guy. What in the world could I possibly say or do for others that would make a hill of beans difference to someone else? Then, I realized that I was falling for the enemy’s lies. It’s true. I have nothing to offer of myself. But I recognize now that God has given me gifts, abilities that come from him, that are activated and used by his Holy Spirit, and so I really do have something to offer, though the credit belongs to God.

So, let me turn this around and ask you a very pointed question.

What gifts or abilities has God given you? You cannot say you have nothing God can use. Everyone, without exception, has one or more gifts that God can use for his kingdom whether in small capacity or large. The fact that you have gifts from God tells you that God expects those gifts to be used for his glory.

Now, if you really want to be a one mina man, just follow the advice I’ve given you. But if you truly want to be a part of multiplying God’s kingdom and seeing him glorified, then do the exact opposite of what I’ve said here today. You may not be a ten mina man. Goodness knows I’m not. But if you apply your abilities in God’s kingdom, you will see a return. Otherwise, God would never have given you gifts in the first place.

Tom Terry is head of Global Broadcast Strategy for JESUS Film Project and serves as General Manager of The Better FM, an online radio station for Asia. Tom is also the author of several books, including Bible studies and "Like An Eagle," his biography about living in Mongolia for ten years. In addition to these things, he is pursuing a Master of Arts in Theological Studies with Whitefield Theological Seminary.
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