Sunday, January 12, 2014
Stewardship In His Absence
Luke 12:42 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? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 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. 46 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.
Jesus is sharing another parable with his followers and this one has to do with those whom he will leave in charge. There is a leadership role which the apostles will take over when he is no longer with them, and this is the place of wise and faithful management. This manager is to practice good stewardship of the entire household, making sure all of the members are well fed.
But what happens when the Lord’s absence continues for an extended period of time? There is a temptation for the manager to put him or herself in the place of the Lord and begin to exert control over the other members of the household. Instead of feeding them well, the manager uses them to his/her own benefit, beating them and showing no self discipline, eating and drinking to their fill.
When least expected the Lord will come and find the household in disarray, and the manager who had proclaimed that they were God’s servant will find themselves in a “place with the unbelievers.”
This parable is really quite profound and is a warning for those who find themselves in places of leadership within the Church. This is a place of great responsibility and there must be good stewardship of all the resources that have been made available.
What becomes clear is that in the Lord’s absence, it is the responsibility of the manager to provide food for those within the household. Let me put it in these terms. Pastor — it’s your responsibility to provide excellent spiritual food for those within your church! My concern is that in the long absence of the Lord we are becoming lazy managers of the household. We are not taking the effort to grow good food to give to the household, instead we have adopted the lead of society and that is, restaurant, fast-food and left-overs will supply our needs. Just as society is getting sick off of these types of foods, so the church is getting sick on a diet of fast-food.
We cannot be well-fed off of pastors re-preaching other peoples’ sermons! A pastor becomes well-fed him/herself when he/she spends time feeding on the word of God. A pastor needs to be feeding the congregation from the food that he/she has been growing in their own personal garden. Stop trying to feed your family with left-overs from the neighbors or what you bought at the internet drive-through!
The parable shows the deterioration which can occur when the manager becomes so power hungry and self-centered that they actually put themselves in the place of the Lord and allow all types of un-Christlike behavior to go on within the “family.” The punishment for this type of manager will be great.
Our good and faithful Lord is asking us to be good and faithful managers of all that he has put into his care. We are to be a reflection of Christ to the world and our stewardship of the household must reflect him. There should be no laziness in his absence, but rather diligent workers seeking to make a difference!
May we live every day as if it were the day that he would drop in to observe what we are doing — and may he find us to be good and faithful stewards.
Lord, help me to be good and faithful today. Amen.