‘I am not throwing away my shot!’ is one of the refrains of “Hamilton”. It has multiple resonances in the musical: the shots that Alexander Hamilton drinks with his young revolutionary friends, the duellist’s challenge to take one shot but above all, the fact that all of us have one shot at life.
Jesus told stories to make the same point but to remind us that our one shot is not just for this life but for eternity. You might, like me have bit of deja vu, reading this passage. It is similar to the much better known Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14–30 which in turn is much more like The Apprentice.
But there are some important differences: among them these. The Parable of the Minas was told on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem; Jesus told the Parable of the Talents later on the Mount of Olives. The audience for the parable of the minas was a large crowd; the audience for the parable of the talents was the disciples by themselves. In this passage there are two classes of people: servants and enemies; the Parable of the Talents deals only with servants. In the parable of the minas, each servant receives the same amount; in the parable of the talents, each servant receives a different amount (and talents are worth far more than minas).
The context is important: Luke adds that Jesus tells this parable to the crowds (and the disciples) because some believed that the kingdom of God was imminent. It is a reminder to them, and to us that we do not know when Jesus will return but we do know that we have a limited time left before we meet Jesus, face to face, in this world or the next.
We indeed have one shot: use your time wisely and well.