And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
- Luke 12:47-48
We have many successes and failures in life. Some might say with a grin that they experience more failures than successes; but, if we notched up the wins we would find a lot more than we acknowledge.
What is the gravest mistake you have caused?
I mean something you directly caused, not one of those instances where it didn't matter what you did you found you had no power over the issue; such as a bank interest rise or job redundancy.
Often, and particularly when we are young, admitting mistakes is embarrassing. As we get older, mistakes seem to be a part of life, and we find they build experience for future work. Some mistakes we can't help making while others are clearly foreseeable.
What does our key verse say to you? Jesus himself is highlighting a possible personal failure coming our way. Not one believer escapes this passage...we can’t get around it, helicopter over it, or make it magically disappear.
We are called to prepare ourselves by both educating our mind and changing our human nature to that of a spiritual one. These are must-do’s! These two requirements are important for the future roles to which we are called.
Point 1. "The servant which knew his Lord’s will” Here Jesus has put us in our right spot of servanthood; a position of subservient obedience. Then He challenges our knowledge of that role. As servants, we should know our master’s will. Some of that will is buried and requires digging deep into scripture, but most of it has been written very plainly upon the tables or tablets (our Bible), making it easy to understand.
Point 2. “and prepared not himself” When we observe different types of servants, whether in life or the movies or a book or article, they are forever preparing things for their masters. They clean, drive, make beds, make meals, prepare for guests, and are always dressed for the part, which is just as important. Similarly, we prepare many things in life, whether at home, work or play. Even for kayaking on a lake there is much to prepare. Yet, our scripture states we have to “prepare ourselves”.
I think it is easier to prepare other things. Most times we can look something and know what's required, but, with ourselves, scripture instructs us about what is required; such as as what is holy and what is not, what is righteous and what is unrighteous, what Christ loves and what he dislikes or hates.
We struggle changing our nature when we lack enough interest, often thinking we are ok like we are, expecting God to be satisfied with us due to Grace. Grace is that period wherein we prepare ourselves. God wont be pleased if we've wasted that time.
Like a nurse, we undertake our education until it becomes part of our life, where we find we do it automatically. The secret is on-the-job training. Like all apprentices, they learn theory and then practice. Education in Christ’s will is identical. It is on-the-job training, but if we are not interested in getting much of the theory by reading and study, we find we are putting very little into practice.
Point 3. “neither did according to his will” This shows a servant who is disinterested in the role, his master, and his master’s will. He would prefer to make up his own rules of the house and see if he can still keep his job. Clearly, he is just there for payday. We have sometimes found these people at work. They cannot stick to a procedure or be found on the job when expected. You have to go looking for them all the time and need to oversee them to get the job done. You would prefer to sack them. God is expecting us to stick to His will.
Point 4. “shall be beaten with many stripes” The Lord is showing us the gravity of the situation, and how He feels about it personally. The gravity of breaches is shown by the weight of the discipline administered. This breach required the full extent of the law of beating. Interestingly, the death penalty was not suggested. If a servant was unaware of his master’s will (e.g. if he/she has been walking for only a short time), he still could not escape punishment. However, his punishment was far less severe due to his ignorance. Ignorance will be no excuse for the long-term Christian.
When we first come to Christ, we don’t know as much as longer-term Christians, but, I think the scripture implies that the master will judge according to what the servant should have known in the time he/she has been walking with Him; e.g. they should have at least known the basics and been following them.
Point 5. “For unto whomsoever much is given” Some Christians still do not appreciate the immensity of their calling and what that calling has diverted. We were the same as everybody else who denies Christ. We were bound for hell, but have been freed due exclusively to His mercy. Following that escape, we have been called to be joint-heirs with the King, Jesus Christ, in a heavenly kingdom. Is that not “much?” Does that level of authority not require some work?
Spiderman’s uncle understood the parable, why can't we?
Everything in this world is focussed on the return of Jesus Christ. Yes, even wickedness is being prepared until the cup of the wrath of God’s indignation is full, and then Jesus is coming in the twinkling of an eye. That return may be when we will be issued those next roles; the ones for which we have been preparing all this time. Are we ready?
Today’s prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for reminding me again of this high calling, and the dedication needed from me for this ministry. Please lead me in the paths of knowledge, and show me how to put on the garments of praise and righteousness so I am prepared for the day coming.