STAYING ON STANDBY
Lord, I remain on standby to receive marching orders.
Read LUKE 12:35–48
35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”
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.
47 “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. 48 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My beloved is knocking.” (Song of Solomon 5:2)
Televisions have a standby facility. Although they may not be functioning, they are always ready to respond instantaneously at the press of a switch. So it can be with us. We can function on two levels: performing the mundane things that must get done, while at the same time being alert to the demands of God’s kingdom, ready to respond to him at any moment.
It is this quality of alertness that Jesus has in mind. Today’s parables deal with the master-servant relationship, in which disciples live to serve the will of their master. Let us make no mistake: egalitarian though we may be at the human, political level, when it comes to Jesus, he definitely has the right to rule. For this reason we call him Lord. He may also be our brother (Hebrews 2:11), but he is our elder brother, and we do what he says. We should live with a sense of expectancy and imminence, that he could come at any time. There is an anticipation here that Jesus leaves and returns at an unknown time: so we remain alert, not misusing our privileges or slacking off in our stewardship of what God has given to us, but staying focused, priorities in place.
In an egalitarian age we might bristle at the idea that somebody can be our master, but we are not talking about just anybody. Jesus is a specific somebody, one who has the exclusive right to rule: we should take note of what kind of master he is. Though there are the ominous warnings of verses 46 and 47, there is also the remarkable prospect of verse 37, in which the master takes the form of a servant and honors those who honor him.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)
Lord, we remain faithful servants who are occupying ourselves with the business of Your kingdom as we await Your imminent return.
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