Luke 12:41-48

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

July 11, 2001


Jesus had been teaching about people needing to be ready for His return.

(Luke 12:35-40 KJV)  Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; {36} And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. {37} 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. {38} And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

The people need to be ready for Jesus’ return (loins girded, lamps burning).
If they are ready, they will be rewarded by having the privilege of having the Lord serve them.

{39} 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. {40} Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

:41-48  Be ready

:41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?

Back in Luke 12:1, Jesus had begun by addressing the crowd about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the dangers of greed.  But Jesus had turned to His disciples in verse 22 to make sure that they understood that He especially didn’t want them to live their lives aimed at getting rich.

Now Jesus has been talking about “being ready”, and Peter is wondering of this idea of “being ready” is only addressed to those who are following Jesus, or is there a sense in which is applies to the whole world.

It looks as if Jesus doesn’t address Peter’s question, but He does.

When we get to verse …

(Luke 12:48 KJV)  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.
There is a sense in which these things apply to all of us, but in differing degrees. 
To the disciples, they have been given much, and so much will be required of them.  To the rest of the world, they might not have been given so much, so they will not have as much required of them.

:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

faithful pistos – trusty, faithful; of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties; one who kept his plighted faith, worthy of trust; that can be relied on

wise phronimos – intelligent, wise; prudent, i.e. mindful of one’s interests

steward oikonomos – the manager of household or of household affairs; esp. a steward, manager, superintendent (whether free-born or as was usually the case, a freed-man or a slave) to whom the head of the house or proprietor has entrusted the management of his affairs, the care of receipts and expenditures, and the duty of dealing out the proper portion to every servant and even to the children not yet of age; the manager of a farm or landed estate, an overseer

shall make rulerkathistemi – to set, place, put; to set one over a thing (in charge of it); to appoint one to administer an office

householdtherapeia – service rendered by one to another; spec. medical service: curing, healing; household service; body of attendants, servants, domestics

portion of meatsitometron (“wheat” + “measure”) – a measured ‘portion of’ grain or ‘food’


Jesus’ stewards serve others

From the parable of Luke 12:35-38, you could get the idea that all you have to do to be ready is to have your track shoes on and your flashlight ready.
But being ready involves action.
It means that you are faithfully feeding God’s household.  It means that you are busy serving others.
Jesus gives us a picture of a household manager who has been given the supply of food for the whole household, and he has to turn around and feed others with what he’s been given.
Though Jesus may be hinting at the apostles or leaders in the church, I think He’s talking about all of us.
Jesus gives us treasures only so that we can turn around and serve others.
For example, spiritual gifts are given to us for the sake of others:

(1 Cor 12:7 NIV)  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

If God gives you a prophetic word, it’s not just so you can hide it and be proud that God has given you something.  It’s so you can share it with others.

If you have a gift of helps, it’s so you can help others.

:43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

:44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

that he hathhuparchonta – possessions, goods, wealth, property

make him rulerkathistemi – to set, place, put; to set one over a thing (in charge of it); to appoint one to administer an office


God rewards faithfulness

I think there’s a bigger principle at work here than just whether or not we’ll get rewards in heaven.
He is looking for people whom He can count on.
The servant moves from feeding the other servants to being a “ruler” over all that the Master has because he has been faithful.
For some of you, you have had a call of God on your life.  God is watching your faithfulness.  He sees.
Don’t quit and give in to feeling like it’s not worth it.  It will be worth it.

:45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

delayethchronizo – to linger, delay, tarry

to beattupto – to strike, beat, smite; with a staff, a whip, the fist, the hand

the menservants pais – a child, boy or girl; infants, children; servant, slave; an attendant, servant, spec. a king’s attendant, minister

maidens paidiske – a young girl, damsel; a maid-servant, a young female slave; a maid servant who has charge of the door

to be drunkenmethusko – to intoxicate, make drunk; to get drunk, become intoxicated


Don’t procrastinate

I heard Pastor Chuck say on the radio the other day that He believes it is God’s will for every generation of Christians to believe that Jesus could be coming back at any time.  I completely agree.
It’s not that we are to think we are deceived in Jesus doesn’t come back tomorrow by noon, but the idea is that having the idea that Jesus is about to come back has an effect on the way we live our lives.

And in a sense there is nothing deceptive about it at all.  A person is always just a heartbeat away from meeting Jesus face to face if they should suddenly die.  In this sense, it is always a good thing to be “ready”.

I think it can be dangerous to fall into the trap of thinking that the Lord isn’t going to come back until this or that piece of prophecy is fulfilled.
This is just one small reason why I believe in the rapture of the Church happening before the Tribulation period.  How can the Lord’s coming be “sudden” and “without warning” if I have to wait for the antichrist to appear in the temple first?
Our hope should change our lives.
(1 John 3:2-3 KJV)  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. {3} And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Our hope in the Lord’s return ought to make us want to be ready to meet Him.

When I become aware of the fact that God is watching me and He could come back at any time, I want to be in tip-top shape, ready for anything.

The opposite of being ready is procrastination.  I am one of the world’s worst procrastinators.  Anything that I can put off for tomorrow, I will.  And sometimes that gets me into trouble.

The Procrastinators Creed

1. I believe that if anything is worth doing, it would have been done already.

2. I shall never move quickly, except to avoid more work or to find excuses.

3. I will never rush into a job without a lifetime of consideration.

4. I shall meet all of my deadlines directly in proportion to the amount of bodily injury I could expect to receive from missing them.

5. I firmly believe that tomorrow holds the possibility for new technologies, astounding discoveries, and a reprieve from my obligations.

6. If at first I don't succeed, there is always next year.

7. I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.

8. I shall always begin, start, initiate, take the first step, and/or write the first word, when I get around to it.

9. I will never put off until tomorrow, what I can forget about forever.

10. I will become a member of the ancient Order of Two-Headed Turtles (the Procrastinator's Society) if they ever get it organized.

King David had been betrayed by his own son, Absalom, who stole the kingdom from David.  But David and his men fought back and Absalom was defeated.  In a move to reunite the nation, David offered Absalom’s top general, Amasa, to be head of his army.  Here’s what happened at Amasa’s first “week on the job” –
(2 Sam 20:1-10 KJV)  And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel. {2} So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem. {3} And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and fed them, but went not in unto them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood. {4} Then said the king to Amasa, Assemble me the men of Judah within three days, and be thou here present. {5} So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah: but he tarried longer than the set time which he had appointed him.

For some reason, Amasa was a procrastinator.  His king ordered him and he didn’t respond as he ought.  David needed action from Amasa, and Amasa didn’t show for work.

{6} And David said to Abishai, Now shall Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom: take thou thy lord's servants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced cities, and escape us. {7} And there went out after him Joab's men, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men: and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.

David knew that he needed prompt action to deal with the rebel Sheba.  Amasa didn’t follow through so David decided to use someone else, Abishai.

Your King, Jesus, also has work for each of us to do.  There are spiritual enemies that need to be dealt with.  Will you drag your feet?  Sometimes you’ll find that God will use someone else and you’ll miss out on being used by God.

{8} When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa went before them. And Joab's garment that he had put on was girded unto him, and upon it a girdle with a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof; and as he went forth it fell out. {9} And Joab said to Amasa, Art thou in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him. {10} But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab's hand: so he smote him therewith in the fifth rib, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.

Joab had been David’s top general.  Perhaps he just wanted his job back and Amasa out of the way.  Perhaps he felt he was protecting David’s interests by removing this man that didn’t seem to care too much about what David ordered.  Perhaps there’s no excuse for Joab’s actions.

But either way, Amasa wasn’t “prepared”.  He didn’t “notice” the dagger in Joab’s hand.  He wasn’t alert.  He wasn’t “on his game”.  He wasn’t ready.

 (2 Pet 3:9-12 KJV)  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. {10} But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. {11} Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, {12} Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

The truth about the future ought to affect our manner of life (KJV – “conversation”).

:46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

he lookethprosdokao – to expect (whether in thought, in hope, or in fear); to look for, wait for

cut him in sunder dichotomeo – (“two” + “to cut”, “dichotomy”) to cut into two parts; of the cruel method of punishment used by the Hebrews and others of cutting one in two; cut up by scourging, scourge severely

will appointtithemi – to set, put, place

portionmeros – a part; a part due or assigned to one; lot, destiny

unbelievers apistos – unfaithful, faithless, (not to be trusted, perfidious); incredible; unbelieving, incredulous

There is some difficulty in understanding just what Jesus means here.

1.  Some have suggested that Jesus isn’t speaking here to the leadership of the church, but that He’s talking about the leadership of the Jewish nation, who are unbelievers to start with.  If the Jews, who have a knowledge about the Messiah’s coming, are not prepared and waiting for the Messiah, then they will have a place with all the other unbelievers.

2.  Some have suggested that Jesus is saying that if you aren’t faithful as a Christian, that you lose your salvation.

3. Jesus is talking about a Christian who loses their rewards for their faithlessness.  Rather than meaning that a Christian will go to hell with the “unbelievers”, instead they are separated from the “faithful” and are placed with the “unfaithful” in the judgment.

The idea is that there are two categories of saved people, the “faithful” and the “unfaithful”.
Paul talks about the process of receiving rewards:
(1 Cor 3:13-15 KJV)  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. {14} If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. {15} If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Jesus is saying that the unfaithful person will not receive rewards, but be “cut off” from their rewards.
I do not think that this means that a person is going to be “miserable” for eternity in heaven.  They will still be blessed, but with a different capacity for blessing.

A two year old loves to play with pots and pans in the kitchen.  If you have a two year old, you can sit down on the kitchen floor and get out a few pots and pans and have a great time together.  The child will love it!

But as an adult, do you have a secret desire to steal away in the middle of the night and get out the pots and pans?

No, because as an adult, you have a different capacity for enjoyment.  The things you enjoy are different than what a child enjoys.


Just be ready

No matter how you want to look at this verse, the application is still the same.  You want to be ready.  You want to be found doing what the Lord has asked you to do.
My wife went to work this morning and left the boys a list of things she wanted them to do while she was gone.  Do you think they did all the things on the list?  Well they actually did, but I needed to remind them several times that Mommy was coming home soon. 
So, I guess tonight is a reminder that Jesus is coming back soon.  Have you done everything on His list of things He wants you to do?

:47-48  Rewards and responsibility

:47 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.

willthelema – what one wishes or has determined shall be done; will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure

preparedhetoimazo – to make ready, prepare; to make the necessary preparations, get everything ready

shall be beatendero – to flay, skin; to beat, thrash, smite

:48 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.

worthyaxios – weighing, having weight, having the weight of another thing of like value, worth as much; befitting, congruous, corresponding to a thing; of one who has merited anything worthy

stripesplege – a blow, stripe, a wound; a public calamity, heavy affliction, plague,

shall be beatendero – to flay, skin; to beat, thrash, smite

fewoligos – little, small, few

muchpolus – many, much, large

givendidomi – to give

requiredzeteo – to seek in order to find; to seek i.e. require, demand; to crave, demand something from someone

committedparatithemi – to place beside or near or set before; to place down (from one’s self or for one’s self) with any one; to deposit; to intrust, commit to one’s charge

the moreperissos – exceeding some number or measure or rank or need

will askaiteo – to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require


You are responsible

Even if you do not know what God requires of you, you are still responsible.

I heard the other day that a man was driving down the road behind a police officer at 45 mph.  The man was in a hurry and decided that since he was only going 45 mph, it would be safe to pass the officer.  After pulling in front of the officer, the lights went on and the man was pulled over.  “But officer!” said the man, “I was only doing 45 mph!”  “Yes,” said the officer, “But the speed limit here is only 25 mph.!”

Whether or not you know what the speed limit is, you are liable for a ticket if you go over the limit.
The best thing is to find out what God wants you to do, and then do it.

What does God want me to do?

God wants you to know Him.  He wants you to be saved.
(1 Tim 2:4 NLT)  for he wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.
God wants you to follow Him.
(Eph 5:1-18 NLT)  Follow God's example in everything you do, because you are his dear children. {2} Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him. {3} Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people. {4} Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes--these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. {5} You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world. {6} Don't be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him. {7} Don't participate in the things these people do. {8} For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! {9} For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. {10} Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. {11} Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. {12} It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. {13} But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are. {14} And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds. This is why it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light." {15} So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. {16} Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. {17} Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. {18} Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.


Use your treasure.

(Mat 25:14-30 KJV)  For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. {15} And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. {16} Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. {17} And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. {18} But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. {19} After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. {20} And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. {21} His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. {22} He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. {23} His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. {24} Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strowed: {25} And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. {26} His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strowed: {27} Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. {28} Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. {29} For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. {30} And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
For some of you, you’ve been given “five talents” worth of treasure on this earth.  It might be special abilities, people you know, finances, everything that makes up who you are.  And God desires that you use what He’s given you for His kingdom.
For some of you, you may feel like you haven’t quite been given as much as others.  Perhaps you don’t feel very talented when it comes to drawing pictures or playing the guitar.  But you have still been given treasures.  God still desires that you take advantage of all that He has given to you.

I may not feel as “gifted” as Chuck Smith or Greg Laurie, but God isn’t going to reward me on whether or not I matched Chuck’s life, He is going to reward me based on what I did with what He gave to me.

God has given each of us a measure of treasure.  He wants you to use YOUR treasure.