Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, 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 does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. (Luke 12:41-48)
Peter asked a good question here – who is this message for? When we read the consequences of disobedience, they are severe, so we kind of should know who Jesus is telling this to.
Jesus says here that His message is for all who are servants of God. To the servants who are faithful and wise stewards of what God has entrusted to them, will be blessed and rewarded. But to the servants who say to themselves, “My master is delayed in coming” and decides to mistreat other servants and love the things of the world, they will face the consequences upon the master’s arrival, which will come upon them unexpectedly.
It’s interesting that we read about varying consequences because servants who aren’t obedient will all face consequences, but some will be more severe than others. The varied severity of negative consequence is based on the knowledge of the master’s will.
Now we could get into the details of the servants who will receive what in the parable is described as a beating, but the more important aspect for us to focus on is the difference between the servants who will receive a beating and the servants who won’t. Sure a lighter beating is better than a severe beating, but isn’t no beating at all better? The difference between whether or not a servant will receive a negative consequence is based on their obedience to the master’s will.
The Faithful and Wise
As we read these distinctions, we should want to be a faithful and wise servant. The master trusts this servant and gives them responsibility over His household. This is one who leads and serves his other fellow servants, looking out for them and not beating them like the unfaithful and disobedient servant.
It is easy to put ourselves immediately into the place of the faithful and wise servant, but we don’t want to miss this opportunity to self-reflect and make sure that we are indeed falling into this category and not just deceiving ourselves. It’s much easier to be lazy, mean, and selfish because that’s our natural tendency as sinners.
Faithfulness comes from loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and wisdom comes from asking God for it. In this process of self-reflection, and being completely honest with yourself, are you doing these things? In short, it takes abiding in Jesus to produce the fruit that comes from a faithful and wise servant.
Much Will Be Required
Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
As a follower of Jesus, you have been entrusted with things. These things may look different from person to person. The most obvious differences is things like: a pastor has been entrusted with feeding and equipping a congregation, along with his first ministry of his wife and children if he has them; and a prayer ministry leader has been entrusted with faithful intercession for the saints of that church body, following up with those who request prayer; and even those who aren’t officially in any position of leadership within their church body, maybe they fold bulletins or greet people as they come in for service or make coffee to have available as people walk in – these are all things that have been entrusted to them. Different things entrusted to different people, but the underlying requirement of both is faithfulness to obey God in what He’s entrusted to them.
What have you been entrusted with?
What has God called you to do for Him as His servant?
Have you been faithful to do it?
These can be hard questions to reflect on sometimes. In the seasons where you’re hitting homeruns in faithfully serving the Lord, these questions are easy and can even be encouraging as you can truthfully answer yes. But in those seasons where you know you’ve been struggling in your faithfulness or maybe you’ve even gotten to the point of thinking God’s arrival has been delayed and you’re focusing on the wrong things and being guided by your flesh – it’s in those times that these questions can bring on feelings of shame. If that is you, today is the day to seek God’s forgiveness, renew your mind, and get back on track with the Lord. We all have missteps sometimes, but if you stumble and stay there then you’ll end there, and you don’t want to end up there when Jesus comes back.
This is a call to obedience to God’s will and walking faithfully and wisely with all that we’ve been entrusted with by God. If you’re on track with that today, right on my fellow sibling and servant in Christ! (High Fives) And if you’re not, I truly hope you receive these words as I intend them – to be that friendly hand being held out to help you stand back up and get on track. Our Lord and Savior is coming back soon and I don’t want anyone to be found in disobedience upon His arrival.
Here’s a song to encourage you as you wait in expectation for God to come back.