While he had their attention, and because they were getting close to Jerusalem by this time and expectation was building that God's kingdom would appear any minute, he told this story:
"There was once a man descended from a royal house who needed to make a long trip back to headquarters to get authorization for his rule and then return.
But first he called ten servants together, gave them each a sum of money, and instructed them, 'Operate with this until I return.'
"But the citizens there hated him. So they sent a commission with a signed petition to oppose his rule: 'We don't want this man to rule us.'
"When he came back bringing the authorization of his rule, he called those ten servants to whom he had given the money to find out how they had done.
"The first said, 'Master, I doubled your money.'
"He said, 'Good servant! Great work! Because you've been trustworthy in this small job, I'm making you governor of ten towns.'
"The second said, 'Master, I made a fifty percent profit on your money.'
"He said, 'I'm putting you in charge of five towns.'
"The next servant said, 'Master, here's your money safe and sound. I kept it hidden in the cellar.
To tell you the truth, I was a little afraid. I know you have high standards and hate sloppiness, and don't suffer fools gladly.'
"He said, 'You're right that I don't suffer fools gladly - and you've acted the fool!
Why didn't you at least invest the money in securities so I would have gotten a little interest on it?'
"Then he said to those standing there, 'Take the money from him and give it to the servant who doubled my stake.'
"They said, 'But Master, he already has double . . .'
"He said, 'That's what I mean: Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag.
"'As for these enemies of mine who petitioned against my rule, clear them out of here. I don't want to see their faces around here again.'"
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)