By Michael Smith

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 19:11-27 

11 As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12 So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return. 13 He summoned ten of his slaves, and gave them ten pounds, and said to them, ‘Do business with these until I come back.’ 14 But the citizens of his country hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to rule over us.’ 15 When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading. 16 The first came forward and said, ‘Lord, your pound has made ten more pounds.’ 17 He said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small thing, take charge of ten cities.’ 18 Then the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has made five pounds.’ 19 He said to him, ‘And you, rule over five cities.’ 20 Then the other came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I returned, I could have collected it with interest.’ 24 He said to the bystanders, ‘Take the pound from him and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ 25 (And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’) 26 ‘I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them — bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.’”


One of the lessons from today’s gospel parable is that God expects a return on his investment in our lives. St. Columba of Iona who is commemorated today provided such a yield, yet not without drama. A native of sixth century Ireland, Columba was involved in an ownership dispute over a copy of the Psalter that escalated into violence and bloodshed. For penance, Columba’s spiritual father directed him to win as many souls for Christ as he had caused to die. As a result, Columba, with twelve companions, set sail in a small boat, landing on the island of Iona off the coast of Scotland, where they founded a monastery. The Abbey of Iona became the center of Celtic evangelism for Scotland and northern England.

This season, as we begin to come out of the pandemic of the past year and return to a sense of normalcy, it may be a good time to check God’s investment in our redeemed lives. While we most likely will not be asked to hop in a boat and found a monastery, there just might be a specific return God is expecting from us during this time of re-emergence and renewal. What could it be?

Michael G. Smith served as bishop of North Dakota for fifteen years and is currently the Assistant Bishop of Dallas. He works with the Navajoland Iona Collaborative and is a Benedictine Oblate and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Springfield
The Diocese of South Carolina