It seems a significant number of folks don’t notice how the parable connects to the preface. Jesus was trying to help His disciples see that the He was not planning on instigating a regime change any time soon. In this context, they were approaching the City of Jerusalem. To them, the time seemed ripe to expect this to all come to a head.
They were expecting Him to declare Himself Messiah with His capital in Jerusalem. They imagined He would use His miraculous powers to destroy the Herodian Dynasty and kick out the Romans. They were also expecting Him to put the Pharisees and Sadducees in their place. Some of that would happen, but not as they were anticipating. So the parable was meant to establish for them a more realistic expectation.
Jesus told them of a certain high-born man who had to go away to a far country, the imperial capital, in order to be granted the rule of his own home country. This actually happened during their life times. When Herod the Great died around 4BC, he left Judea and Samaria to his son Archelaus, along with his title as king. The other two sons got smaller portions and lesser titles. But the Roman Emperor had to approve this bequest, so Archelaus headed off to Rome and left his affairs with others. A wise move it was to distribute his estate among several stewards, so that no one of them could easily claim to take his place in his absence. He made it competitive, to boot.
Jesus mentions what happened after Archelaus left with his large entourage of bodyguards and assistants. The Jewish leadership back in Jerusalem sent a fast traveling delegation to appeal to the emperor for a different king. This delegation got to Rome before Archelaus, and it felt like the betrayal it was. But then, the Jews had found Herod cruel and unbearable, and knew that Archelaus was very much the same kind of man.
Jesus was portraying Himself as another king who would have to take a long journey to the Father’s throne (the emperor in this case) to actually gain title to His kingdom. In this case, He was referring to His Ascension to Heaven, and it would be a very long trip with a very long stay. He was dividing His property into several hands. His expectation is that His servants would employ His gifts to increase the Kingdom. Don’t get hung up on what a mina (sometimes translated “pound”) is; it’s equivalent to about 100 days wages for common laborers, but that’s not so very important except to indicate the scale of things.
Those who were faithful would take risks, knowing that the power of the Holy Spirit would ensure a return. Some would make less of it, but still gain. And some would think only of themselves and fearfully cling to the shadows. The former would be rewarded when Christ finally returns, while the latter would face harsh censure.
But as for the Jewish leaders who have been praying against Jesus and His message, everything they fear, and much more, will befall them when Jesus comes in His glory.