Luke 12:41-48

Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?”

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.”

”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. 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.” Luke 12:41-48

Peter was listening closely as Jesus taught about being prepared, being ready for action, and warning against greed. He just had one question. It was the same question that Travis Bickle asked the mirror, “You talkin’ to me?”

“Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?” To whom do these challenging words apply?

Jesus talks first about a faithful and prudent manager. Those aren’t complicated words. They describe a person who does what he or she is supposed to do. They repeatedly do the right thing in their own actions and in their leadership of others. They don’t take advantage of their positions of power or influence. They always recognize that they are accountable to the owner. They are careful in that they take great care of the responsibilities that have been entrusted to them. In every sphere of life.

Then Jesus talks about another kind of manager who seems to do just the opposite. They get away with whatever they think they can get away with. They take advantage of their positions. They are cruel and heartless toward others. They ignore the rules of the game, rewriting them to serve only themselves.

The day of reckoning will come. Peter has heard that, loudly and clearly.

“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.” That line isn’t very complicated either. But still, like Peter, we can look for loopholes.

We can play the game of pass the buck. “Yeah, I admit I’ve been blessed…but not nearly as much as others. THEY are the ones not pulling their weight.”

We can play the game of just getting by. The beginning of a new school year is just around the corner. Every student, every day, will be given a choice. Will they do the best they can to learn the material, turn in assignments, and participate in class? Or will they do just enough to get by?

We can play the blame game. Immigrants have taken all of our jobs. Terrorists are ruining the world. Politicians are bankrupting our futures. The other party is intent on destroying our country.

Or we can play the same game – under the rules which God has written into the DNA of the universe. Everyone doing the best they can with what they have toward the common good of all. Honesty, integrity, generosity, thrift, prudence, and justice for all. Those are the aspirational values that sound like Jesus and they are not out of reach for any of us.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, forgive us for caving in to the temptation to avoid and evade the responsibilities you have entrusted to us. For taking advantage of our positions. For putting heavy loads on others, for looking for the splinters in the eyes of our neighbors while ignoring the log in our own. Help us do the best we can with what we have. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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