The Book of Luke, Stewardship, Part II - Lesson 164
We are in Luke 12:37,38.
In previous lessons we have learned from our Lord that we are not to be anxious about those things for which he holds himself responsible.
We have also learned that we have responsibilities to take care of and that those responsibilities include being prepared to serve.
For He tells us that we are to gird up our loins so as to be ready for service.
We are to keep our lights burning and not falter in our expectancy of the Lord’s return for we know not the day nor the hour but we do know his return will be some day and some hour.
As Luke records in the book of Acts two men in white apparel told the disciples as Jesus ascended into heaven:
this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
We are to be ready to respond to his return and that readiness includes the keeping of those things the Lord has left in our hands.
In other words we are to be good stewards of that which the Lord has entrusted in order to carry out his work.
And with this kind of faithfulness Jesus Christ promises blessings for he says in:
Luke 12:37,38, Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 38And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
If we are to wait expectantly for our Lord’s return, doing so will result in the reward of “blessedness.”
It is astounding as to what that reward is for Jesus Christ himself promises that those servants who are found waiting for the Master will be blessed.
They will be blessed by the Master personally serving them, for he will gird up his loins and make them to sit down to meat and he will come forth and serve them.
Don’t you suppose this is connected to the marriage supper of the Lamb mentioned in the book of Revelation?
But this is how the Lord Jesus shows us that service is honorable in his kingdom for Jesus indeed came to serve.
In our culture, many times serving is thought of as a demeaning task, a task which is avoided as unworthy.
It was not so different in Jesus’ day but the Lord Jesus Christ elevated service to a task of great privilege and honor for in the kingdom of Christ there is no greater honor than to serve.
Also we are to take notice by this example that the leader, the master, is not immune to service.
Some view leadership as an opportunity for others to serve them, but the Bible speaks of leadership as a form of service.
Mark 10:42‑45; But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Some church bodies call their leaders ministers and as we see here this is a biblical title.
We call our leaders Pastors, which is another name for a shepherd who has care of flocks and herds.
A Pastor is a minister of the gospel who has the charge of a church and congregation.
A Pastor is one whose duty is to watch over the people of his charge, and instruct them in the doctrines of the Word of God.
A pastor is to watch over God’s people, he is a steward of God’s people.
He is to be a keeper of God’s people as a shepherd is to be a keeper of the sheep.
By keeping the sheep he is serving the sheep.
So the Lord Jesus Christ both leads and serves at the same time, or in other words He leads by serving.
This is what Jesus says about himself: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
Serving His servants at the marriage supper is in no way inconsistent with His coming to rule the world.
Jesus came to serve at his first coming and that service will continue at his second coming.
We think of leadership as being served but Jesus tells us that leading is done by serving.
Here is a lesson for us.
We know by the word of God that it is not demeaning for our Lord to serve, and by this we are not to view service as demeaning to us.
In fact biblical thinking leads us to conclude that serving is to be our glory.
We are not to live this life of service thinking that it is simply a path to glory but we are to live this life of service knowing that service is our glory and will continue throughout eternity.
For we are made to serve, we are made to do for others, we are made as an extension of God’s hands, God’s feet and God’s mind.
That is our purpose and the sooner we realize that, the happier we will be for we will then be doing God’s will for God’s will is to serve.
One of the best things that can happen to a person is to fulfill his or her purpose and it is clear that a Christians’ purpose is to serve.
In verse 38, Jesus repeated the promise of blessing to those who wait for His return, even if it is delayed through the second or even third watch.
The Jews divided time by watches and the third watch would bring the watcher through the night for the third watch was a night watch.
History has confirmed Christ’s implication in this passage that his return will be later than the Apostles supposed for nearly 2000 years have passed since the Lord’s return to the Father.
Because of this we think we are in the night watch but Christ continues to expect his stewards to faithfully watch for his return regardless of the lateness of the hour.
But even if His return continues to be long coming, the promised blessings which he will bring with his return are in no way reduced or diminished.
They are still his promises and will be kept.
The blessings will come to those who are faithful in waiting and any delay only makes the blessings the more valuable.
So continued waiting, for the faithful saint, only increases his eagerness.
But what of those who do not expectantly wait?
The Lord addresses them as he continues to teach his disciples in:
Luke 12:39‑40, And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. 40Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
Jesus had just said: Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching:
As he continues he addresses a different group for this is the group that he does not find watching when he comes.
For to those in this group he will come as a thief, a thief who is unwanted, unwelcome, and unexpected.
We have seen the anticipation of the master’s return by the faithful servant, but here Jesus pictures himself as a thief breaking into a house of one who is not faithfully watching.
This Goodman of the house is one who dreads the coming of a thief who will take and not give.
The master/servant image that Jesus painted was intended as an encouragement to those who would wait as Jesus described.
But the owner/thief image is a warning to those who do not expectantly await the Lord’s return.
In the first image, Jesus is portrayed as the Master who is welcomed and comes with a reward.
In the second, Jesus comes as a thief, who is not welcomed and whose arrival spells disaster.
In the first story the master owns the house, but in the second the man owns the house and Jesus is viewed as the unwanted, unauthorized taker.
The owner of the house loses his possessions.
That was the case of the rich farmer who owned many barns and wished to build bigger barns.
To him God was the thief who interrupted his plans when he found out that this night his soul was required of him.
In the first image, the master is welcomed and let in the door.
In the second, the thief is not welcome, and he enters by breaking the house.
What is it that makes the difference?
What determines whether Jesus is a “welcome Master” or a “dreaded thief”?
We know that there is no difference in Jesus Christ for he is the same yesterday, today and forever.
How is a father welcomed home after work from a child who has done right verses a child who has brought home a note from the teacher, or a report card which indicates performance less than the child’s best?
The difference is in the child.
We know that in the case of the faithful servants there is a love relationship between the Master and His servants.
They know and love each other.
The servants await His return because of who He is.
But the home owner does not know the thief, nor does he wish to know the thief.
He hopes the Lord never comes, for His coming is viewed as bringing total loss.
Those who have trusted in Jesus as the promised Messiah love Him and see Him as the source of “every good and perfect gift” (cf. James 1:17).
They await His return and know that it will bring them blessedness.
Those who have rejected God and His Messiah do not wish to see Him, for His coming only spells the loss of those things which they value most, but which will be taken away, just as the “rich fool” lost his possessions.
We notice that while there are many differences between the faithful servants of this parable and the house‑owner, there is one important thing that is the same.
Neither the servants nor the house‑owner knew the time that the Lord would return.
The delay of the Lord, along with the lack of knowing exactly when He will return, will produce very different results.
For the true follower of Jesus, the delay produces anticipation and expectation.
Delay should produce a greater desire to be ready for there is more time to be ready.
But for the unbeliever, who does not love the Lord, nor takes pleasure in the anticipation of His return, His delay produces a very different response, which we see played out in verse 45, where we see judgment instead of reward.
What is certain is that the Lord is going to return, to reward some and to judge others.
What is not certain is exactly what “day” or “hour” that will be.
This delay and the uncertainly as to the precise timing of His coming is a test of our faithfulness and a incentive to increase our expectation.