In Luke 12.35-40 Jesus used two parables to describe how his followers needed to remain aligned with his attitudes and actions.
They were to be dressed for action and alert, making sure they served their Master’s purposes.
In verse 41, Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?”
Jesus responded to Peter’s question with three illustrations.
The Faithful Manager
Jesus began the discussion by outlining the role of the faithful manager.
— Luke 12.42-44 – And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom his master will put in charge of his slaves, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time?
“Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives.
“Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions.”
If you want a job description for the “faithful and prudent manager,” the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is the best I know.
A frequent reading of this great sermon will inform us of how to live a Jesus-kind-of-life.
The Holy Spirit will help us adjust our lives to conform to the message.
The Oppressive Manager
The opposite of the faithful manager is the one who uses power for their own advantage.
— Luke 12.45-46 – “But if that slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and if he begins to beat the other slaves, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk,
“The master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful.”
Psalm 14 pictures the actions and attitudes of the oppressive manager.
— Verse 1 – This person is called a “fool,” because they are convinced that they can live a successful life separate from a trusting relationship with God.
It not that they don’t believe that there is a God. Rather, they act as though God does not exist.
They don’t take into consideration the fact that they will be held accountable before God for their actions.
Jesus’ message makes it clear that judgment for wrongdoing is a future reality for people who use their power to oppress others.
— Verse 4 – The oppressive managers don’t talk to God about how to order their lives. Instead, they willingly “eat up” the resources of the powerless.
— Verse 6 – They attempt to discourage the plans of the poor, but fail to see that God is a refuge for the vulnerable.
James, the brother of Jesus, taught: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1.27).
If we follow James’ guidance, we will not be found among the oppressive managers.
Greater Knowledge = Greater Responsibility
People in leadership often have been given great opportunities in life.
The benefits of a good upbringing, economic stability, and education better qualify them for the management of others.
When people use their abilities to take advantage of less powerful people, they can expect God’s justice to be applied to them.
— Luke 12.47-48 – That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating.
“But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating.
“From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.”
Tyrants, warlords, gangsters, politicians, corporations, and the like have historically used their power to extract labor, goods and services from vulnerable members of society.
They may believe that they will be able to escape an accounting before God, but Jesus says judgment will take place.
We don’t want to be part of the crowd of people who encounter God’s judgment. Let’s take Jesus’ words seriously and apply them to our lives where applicable.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Rudy adds a different voice and insights to the discussion. I hope you get a chance to listen today.
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