Current Message‎ > ‎

Sunday, August 27, 2017

posted Aug 28, 2017, 8:09 PM by Site Administrator

WHO THEN IS THE FAITHFUL AND WISE MANAGER?

 

Luke 12:35-53

Key Verse 12:42

 

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?"

 

First, "Be dressed ready for service" (35-41). Look at verse 35. Jesus says, "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning." In the previous passage, we studied about Jesus’ instruction for his disciples in regard to their security matter and what they should do. Jesus told them not to worry about their future security, but by trusting in God’s provision, to seek God’s kingdom. The believers must seek God’s kingdom work. Now in this passage, Jesus shows us with what kind of attitude we must seek God’s kingdom, saying, "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning,…" With what attitude should we seek the kingdom? Like soldiers or firefighters in uniform, ready for service so that whenever any direction comes, we respond saying, "Yes, Sir," and go to serve God's kingdom - there is readiness and willingness, and you always make yourself available for God to use - maybe, you are a student, but you make yourself available for God to use, being ready to say, "Yes, Sir!" Maybe, you are an employee working at a very promising company, but you make yourself available for God to use, because, fundamentally, what you really seek and desire is God's kingdom; you live as agents of the kingdom of God here on earth that whenever a direction for God's kingdom comes, you are always ready, wherever you are, whatever you do.

 

This readiness for God's kingdom shows your priority on the kingdom of God; this willingness for God's kingdom shows your zeal and passion for the kingdom of God. This readiness, this willingness for God's kingdom then makes you serve God's kingdom work wholeheartedly, zealously and passionately; at that time, your Christian lamps are burning brightly. Jesus says, "and keep your lamps burning." How were you when you experienced Jesus' grace for the first time? You were so happy and thankful that you pursued God's kingdom work wholeheartedly; you didn't care even if your meeting place was someone's garage; you didn't care even if you had Bible study at a donut shop; at that time, nothing or no one could stop you from loving God and serving God wholeheartedly. Indeed, your Christian lamps were burning very brightly. Jesus wants us to seek God's kingdom in that way continually, saying, "Keep your lamps burning." Not only just at the beginning stage of your Christian life, but all the days of your Christian life continually; not only during your college period, but also after graduation; not only when you were lowly in your company, but also when your salary is very high and when you occupy high positions in the society; not only when you are singles, but also after marriage, and all the days of your life. Keep your Christian lamps burning! How? By being dressed ready for service for the kingdom of God. Don't be distracted by the worry and fear of the security matter. Instead, trust in God and seek His kingdom! He will take care of you and help you with your career matter and marriage matter as you serve His kingdom work. Instead of being bombarded by such matters, be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning! That's what God wants you to do. That's how we must live our life as Christians in this world.

 

       In verses 36 through 40, Jesus explains the reason why his disciples, his believers must be ready for service and keep their lamps burning. Here, he describes himself as the master who is coming back home from a wedding banquet, and his disciples as his servants who take care of his house while he is absent. The servants know for sure that their master is coming back, but they don’t know what time he will be back. The master may come back around 10 pm, or 1 am, or even 4 am – it is totally up to the master’s will and decision, and the servants wait for him. How happy the master will be when he finds his servants still waiting for him even at 4 am that the minute he knocks at the door, immediately, they open the door, saying, "Welcome back, Master." Jesus says, "It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them." This is really an amazing picture. The master, when he sees his servants so faithful, waiting for him even at 4 am in the morning, is so moved by their faithfulness and loyalty that he takes the servant’s position and serves them so specially. He lets them sit around a table, takes the servant’s clothes, prepares some delicious foods for them, and while they eat, he waits on them just like a waiter at a restaurant. Jesus again says, "It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night."

 

       Jesus, after his death and resurrection, went to heaven, entrusting all God’s kingdom business in the hands of his disciples with the promise that he would return. Now it is the disciples of Jesus who take care of God’s soul saving business. Now we are all waiting for his second coming. How happy Jesus will be when he finds that we have been waiting for him faithfully! It will be really good for us that we are found faithful when he comes back. At that time, we can bow down to him and say, "Lord, by your grace I am what I am." Then, Jesus will say to us, "Well done, my good and faithful servants! Come and share your master’s happiness!" This is all Christians' dream that Jesus recognizes us as good and faithful servants! So, we must be found ready at his second coming. 

 

       Jesus is coming, but we don’t know when he will come - the time or day, so we must be ready all the time so that any time he comes, we may be found waiting faithfully. Jesus will come at an unexpected hour like a thief. So, we must be dressed ready for service, and keep our lamps burning all the time so that, no matter what time he may come, we may be found ready for him. There might be so many things we have to take care of, such as school work or supporting the family. Maybe, sometimes, we are at work to earn money, or on the street driving for school. But above all things, Jesus wants us to be ready for God’s kingdom work and keep our lamps burning so that any time he may come, we may be found ready - good and faithful servants for the master. Jesus says in Luke 21:34, "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap." We should not let anything, whether good or bad, distract us from serving God wholeheartedly.

 

       Second, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager?" (41-48). Look at verse 41. Peter asked, "Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?" This is the very question many Christians have. Whenever they see Jesus' challenging message, they assume that such a message is not for them, but for unbelievers; but deep down in their hearts, they are burdened. As the representative of all these Christians, Peter asked the question. What was Jesus’ answer? Look at verse 42. Let’s read this verse together:

 

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?

 

       Jesus describes here, his disciples as the managers, whom the master puts in charge of his servants. Jesus was the good shepherd for God’s flock; he worked hard to take care of his sheep, and even laid down his life on the cross to purchase them. Then, when his time came to return to his Father’s house, he established his disciples as the shepherds for his sheep, saying, "Feed my lambs!" "Take care of my sheep!" Jesus entrusted his sheep in the hands of his disciples who loved him. He wants his disciples to be shepherds and shepherdesses who take care of his little lambs. How happy he will be, when, at his return, he finds his disciples taking care of his sheep faithfully. When we live as shepherds and shepherdesses taking care of God’s flock, we are managers who work on behalf of our master Jesus.

 

       Jesus describes here the managers' job as "giving their food allowance at the proper time." For the pets such as dogs and cats, this description is really right, but for humans, it sounds strange - giving their food allowance at the proper time. People are not pets that need a food dispenser. Actually, what Jesus talks about is shepherding. This job description shows the shepherd’s duty very well – giving sheep their food allowance at the proper time faithfully.  Our job as shepherds and shepherdesses is to give sheep their food allowance, the word of God, at the proper time. Sometimes, we have a lot of homework to do; sometimes, we are tired; sometimes, the environment is not favorable. But the faithful manager, somehow, carries his duty continually. When sheep come to Bible study, their shepherd is always there on time, rain or snow. Under the care of such a faithful shepherd, sheep can be rest assured of the provision, and grow sound. Jesus says, "43It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions." This is Jesus' joy in finding some faithful and wise managers - he trusted them and put his sheep under their care, and as he had expected from them, they have proved themselves faithful and trustworthy in taking care of his sheep. When he finds them faithful, he is so happy that he puts them in charge of all his possessions, because they have proved their quality.

 

       When we think about this carefully, we see that actually, we are in the probation, working for Jesus' company, the kingdom of God, and according to how we prove ourselves during this probation period, Jesus will treat us accordingly. If we prove ourselves trustworthy during this probation period, he will put us in charge of his kingdom, some to be the governors for ten cities or five cities, or as city mayors. As Christians, we are not on vacation in the world; we are not here just to do some religious ceremonies aimlessly. Instead, there is a clear goal in our Christian life, that is, to prove ourselves to Jesus. We all work together for God's kingdom in one mind and heart as a church, but at the same time, each of us is standing and struggling before Jesus alone to prove who we are. Jesus says, "It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns." In this passage, Jesus repeats the same expression, "It will be good for those servants,…" "It will be good for that servant…" Yes, it will be really good when we are found faithful to God’s mission.

 

Look at verses 45 and 46. Let’s read these verses together:

 

45But suppose the servant says to himself, 'My master is taking a long time in coming,' and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46The 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.

 

       Not all Christians, not all managers will be found faithful. After mentioning about the case of a good servant, Jesus also mentions about the case of a wicked servant. This wicked servant, assigned as a manager, showing that he is one of his disciples, even one of his apostles, is lazy; he does not respect his master or take his command seriously. Instead, he assumes that the master will not come soon. Fundamentally, he does not fear his master. So, what does he do? He abuses and misuses his authority as the manager that he beats the servants that are under his authority. He then, eats, drinks, and gets drunk. As a Christian, he does not do what he is supposed to do; instead, he is self-indulgent, neglecting his duty. Of course, at the coming of his master, he is not found waiting or ready; maybe, he is found sleeping or drunk or self-indulgent. How does the master deal with him? He will come on a day he does not expect, and at an hour he is not aware of. Jesus says, "He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers." We are really shocked here, because Jesus is talking about some of his disciples he puts in charge of many people as the managers, as his representatives. He will be really angry with that wicked manager - he will cut him to pieces. And then, he will assign him a place with the unbelievers. Where do the unbelievers go? I don’t want to talk about it. But surely, they don't go up, but down. With what kind of attitude should we serve God? Surely, with a fearful and trembling heart, with great sincerity, never assuming anything, never taking anything for granted.

 

Originally, Peter asked Jesus, "Lord, are you telling this to us or to everyone?" What was Jesus’ answer? Yes, it was to everyone even including the top disciple Peter. Jesus wants all believers to be found as the faithful and wise managers, carrying out their duties faithfully until he comes back. It will be good for you to be found faithful when he returns. That's why we must be dressed ready for service all the time and keep our lamps burning so that whenever he comes, we may be found as faithful and wise servants, doing our duty as Christians faithfully.

 

Look at verses 47 and 48. Let’s read these verses together:

 

47"That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48But 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.

 

       When Simon Peter asked the question, "Lord, are you telling this parable to us or to everyone?" he revealed his pride as the one who had followed Jesus leaving everything behind. Since he followed Jesus, he thought that Jesus’ message was not for him, but for others who needed to repent. His idea was: since he knew God’s word, since he was Jesus’ disciple, all great things and blessings were guaranteed. But Jesus’ idea was different. His idea was: since they were privileged to know him and his word, and to be with him, much will be demanded from them. There are people who have not heard about the gospel at all, so Jesus does not expect that much from them; if they live a moralistic life, he considers it greatly; if they are philanthropic, he considers it greatly. But there are people who have been in the church for 10 years or 20 years, hearing God’s word all the time - Jesus expects much from them. We have been privileged to know the divine words of God - we have studied the book of Genesis, such holy book - it was indeed divine; every week, God's divine words have been given to us - we understand God's word, and we know God personally; this kind of blessing has not been given to all church going people. Much has been given to us, so now Jesus expects much from us. It is not the time for us to take pride in knowing the truth, but it is the time for us to struggle to bear much fruit to please Jesus. Much has been given to us, so much has been expected from us - we must go out and do God's work more zealously than ever. As much has been given to us, we must be dressed ready for service and keep our lamps burning all the more.

 

       Third, "I have come to bring fire on the earth" (49-53). Look at verses 49 and 50. Let’s read this verse together:

 

"49I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!

 

       Jesus here shows us that the purpose of his coming is to bring fire on the earth. What does he mean by saying, "fire"? He explains its meaning in verse 51, saying, "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." Then, in verses 52 and 53, he talks about how there will be divisions in the family only because of him – father and son will be divided against each other; mother and daughter will be divided against each other; mother-in-law and daughter-in-law will be divided against each other. Here, fire refers to discord, conflict, strife and division – because of Jesus, there will be great wars among family members. Because of this conflict, mothers cry in sorrow, and daughters weep.

 

Jesus is the prince of peace; he is the good shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep. He is so gentle and kind, so humble and loving. Then, how come, people come to experience this kind of strife, pain and sorrow only because of him? It is not because he intends to do so, but this is what happens naturally in the life of people, when they experience his grace. At the grace of Jesus, everything changes – the kingdom of God and eternal life becomes real and practical, so their hope changes – before, the things of the world were the most valuable things in their eyes, but now, at the glory of the kingdom of God, all these things lose their value; their value system changes, and their life style changes. Their life direction changes – they no longer pursue success in the world, but the kingdom of God. Then, in the eyes of their family members, these changed people look crazy. So, their fathers persecute them, saying, "Why don’t you pursue success as all others do? Go to church only on Sundays!" Because they are rooted and built up in the world with worldly value system, they simply cannot understand the changes of their beloved people. So there is argument, division, and strife. As these changed people, his disciples stand firm and give themselves to God's work fully, seeking the kingdom by faith, being dressed ready for service and keeping their lamps burning for Jesus, the conflict becomes sharp and there is a war in the family. It is like having fire among themselves in the family, and it’s too hot – "Auch!" But through this kind of painful time, all these people come to consider God really sincerely, and they come to have a chance to truly believe in God, thereby, having a chance for their own salvation. This happens whenever any person experiences Jesus really.

 

Jesus says, "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" How Jesus wishes to see this kind of fire kindled in the lives of many people! How Jesus wishes if it were already kindled in the lives of all of us! How Jesus wishes that this fire is kindled in all the families in Torrance, Gardena, in Long Beach, in all the cities of California! How I wish it were already kindled in all our campuses! Such work of fire is the true work of God that stirs up and even destroys all worldly lifestyles and humanistic value systems.  

 

But Jesus adds, saying, "But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!" For such a work of fire, there was something Jesus had to do, that was, bringing the forgiveness of their sins through his sufferings and death on the cross. Jesus was going in that direction - was it easy? No. It was burdensome. But in order to see the fire kindled in the lives of all peoples on earth, he boldly took up his cross and completed it. Since then, wherever the gospel is preached, people are changed – party animals become holy people of God; selfish people become sacrificial shepherds; directionless people become great spiritual leaders. Wherever the gospel is preached, all sinful culture is uprooted, worldly lifestyles are destroyed, and new heavenly value system is planted, and new godly culture is established, and powerful spiritual leaders begin to grow.

 

"How I wish it were already kindled!" This is the whole purpose of Jesus coming into the world. Is this fire kindled in your life? Is there fire in your family because of Jesus? Jesus says, "How I wish it were already kindled!" When it is already kindled in your life, rejoice, because this is what Jesus brings to the world - not peace but fire. Eventually, this fire will burn all godless lifestyles and value systems and worldly hopes that have been built up in the hearts of your beloved family members; then, this fire will create a heavenly and spiritual value system, hopes and life styles in them. For this glorious purpose, today, we take up our cross and serve God’s work. For this glorious vision of seeing the fire of the Holy Spirit kindled in the lives of many people, we teach the word of God to our students diligently. We make ourselves ready for service and keep our lamps burning for God's kingdom. May God use us in kindling this fire in the lives of many college students. "How I wish it were already kindled at ECC, CSULB, CSUDH, LBCC and all the campuses in California!"

 

One Word:      "How I Wish It Were Already Kindled!"

Comments