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42 The Lord replied, “Who are the faithful and wise managers whom the master will put in charge of his household servants, to give them their food at the proper time? 43 Happy are the servants whom the master finds fulfilling their responsibilities when he comes. 44 I assure you that the master will put them in charge of all his possessions.
45 “But suppose that these servants should say to themselves, My master is taking his time about coming. And suppose they began to beat the servants, both men and women, and to eat, drink, and get drunk. 46 The master of those servants would come on a day when they weren’t expecting him, at a time they couldn’t predict. The master will cut them into pieces and assign them a place with the unfaithful. 47 That servant who knew his master’s will but didn’t prepare for it or act on it will be beaten severely. 48 The one who didn’t know the master’s will but who did things deserving punishment will be beaten only a little. Much will be demanded from everyone who has been given much, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked.
Jesus’ story was not meant to teach the best way to treat workers—it reflected the harsh realities of the Roman legal system. In most cases, masters held absolute, life-and-death power over their servants. Jesus was not saying God is no better than Roman masters were. His story was mainly about the servants—about us as God’s servants—more than the masters. As servants, we are responsible to use God’s resources according to God’s will, rather than our own.
Lord Jesus, I commit myself to being your servant. Transform me so that my “doing” flows from who I am “becoming”—in you. Amen.
I think a lot about my grandpa at this time of year. He has been gone for over ten years and still, even as that much time has passed, he is the first saint I think about. He shared his faith with me constantly, my whole life long. He prayed for me at least daily, I know for sure. A staunch Southern Baptist, he did not really believe that women should be ordained. But his only granddaughter (1 out of five grandchildren and the only girl), was the exception. He could not have been prouder that I chose to go to seminary and follow God’s calling on my life.
The most faithful thing I can ever think of that my grandpa did was send me $100 every month I was in seminary. I had shared with him that the rent for my apartment on campus was $100 more than my budget could allow. That gift every month came in the mail, complete with a note of encouragement for me. But it was the memo line in the check that always made me pause and give lots of thanks for my grandpa’s example. He always wrote “to further God’s Kingdom” in the memo line.
A picture of my baptism day as an infant has my grandpa in the background, beaming proudly. I am certain that when the Pastor asked that day if those gathered would teach me the faith and encourage me to grow, his voice was the loudest “yes.” Some twenty years later, he was able to tangibly do something that made his vows at my baptism come alive. To me, my grandpa exhibited the faithfulness we are called to as stewards of God’s gifts in an incredible way. I am prayerful to follow in his footsteps.
* William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, p. 168.
** Craig S. Keener, glossary entry “Parable” in The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.