Meditating on the Parables of Luke: 6. The Faithful Steward
Luke 12:35-40 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Purpose & Context: The purpose of this parable appears to continue from the previous one that called for alertness and faithfulness while waiting for the return of the Master of the household. Indeed part of the account here clearly has the same context of the absent Master. It is provoked by Peter asking Jesus for clarification – is this about just us disciples or about everyone?
The Details of the Story:
- there is a household and the master is away.
- the control of the household is in the hands of a steward or manager
- if he is found to be faithful when the Master returns, he will be given more to care for.
But then an alternative scenario is envisaged:
- the manager thinks the master is a long time returning.
- his behaviour deteriorates and he beats those under him and spends his time eating and drinking.
- the master then returns without warning and finds him doing these things.
- he deals harshly with this unfaithful man and casts him out.
Concluding Teaching: Jesus lays out three principles:
- “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many
- But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few
- From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
The first two indicate that disobedience will be punishment for any and all, but the amount of the punishment will vary according to the knowledge of the disobedient person. The concluding principle is quite specific:
- if you have been given much, much will be expected of you
Remember this was Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question. From it we might deduce, those who have become Jesus’ followers and have seen what he did and heard what he said, had a much greater responsibility to use what they have seen and heard than those who have seen or heard little. Perhaps we might go as far as to say that the more the Lord blesses us, the more He expects from us. Again, perhaps we should not limit this to simple spiritual understanding but extend it to all of life:
- he or she who has had a really good family upbringing and known all the goodness of that, should appreciate that and be thankful and live accordingly.
- he or she who is blessed physically or intellectually, should learn to appreciate that (not being proud) but be thankful and grateful and use their abilities accordingly.
- he or she who is blessed with an affluent background should appreciate that and use it wisely.
- he or she who is blessed in business or career should appreciate that and use it wisely.
In each case there are two things that I suggest spring from this parable. First, there is the recognition of the privilege you have been granted in life by God. Recognise it as a gift, be thankful and be humble in that recognition. Second, there is the way you use that privilege. If you use it godlessly and self-centredly, then expect severe censure when you come face to face with God. If you use is wisely, with thankfulness and looking for the good of others, expect commendation.
As Christians, never forget your testimony, the things God has done for you throughout your life. I am aware of the weaknesses of my background but also what He has done for me, nevertheless. “I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” (2 Cor 11:30) I am aware of having been through some historical times spiritually and having received abundant teaching and will therefore continue to write as long as He enables me. Look back, realise, rejoice, give thanks, be humble, continue to serve and be a blessing.