Luke Chapter Twelve
v.1 “IN THE MEAN TIME, WHEN THERE WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AN INUMMERABLE MULTITUDE OF PEOPLE, INSOMUCH THAT THEY TRODE ONE UPON ANOTHER, HE BEGAN TO SAY UNTO HIS DISCIPLES FIRST OF ALL, BEWARE YE OF THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES, WHICH IS HYPOCRISY.”
v.11-12 “11And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”
v.20-21 “20But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Jesus gives us an analogy. Consider the lilies of the field, those beautiful flowers that God provides, they are dressed in a beauty beyond what man is able to invent. God provides that, God will provide for us as well, he just requires some effort of those in the animal kingdom and in the human kingdom that he does not require of the plant kingdom. And if God will provide so well for something that is to be used as fuel for the cooking ovens why would he not provide for us as well?
v.29-30 “29And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.”
Just as he had instructed the 12 and the 70 when he sent them out to preach and teach that the kingdom of God is at hand; he is now instructing those who will be his disciples and carry the gospel to the world in similar fashion. Don’t worry about your substance. Did that mean that they would not have to provide for themselves? Of course not, there were times that Paul had to work to earn his living, he had a craft that he exercised when he was in Corinth:
Acts 18:3 “3And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.”
God knows what we need and he will, again through his providence, his establishing the order of things in this world, provide us the opportunity to have what we need. But he won’t hand it to us, we like the ravens will have to seek and glean that which we need from the bounty he provides.
v.31 “31But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
But rather seek the kingdom of God. Put the emphasis in your lives toward the higher things of God. God will add to your life whatever it is that your need. Again; not without our effort, not without our wise use of his provisions, but without failing.
v.32 “32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Jesus here speaks much as John does in I John 2:1 where he calls those to whom he is writing “LITTLE CHILDREN”. Jesus is the Master Shepherd; these disciples are his flock, he understands and will exercise his responsibility to his flock. It is his delight to “GIVE YOU THE KINGDOM” even though he would suffer a horrible death to do so. And those to whom he is speaking here are the charter members of the same kingdom that we are citizens of today.
v.33-34 “33Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus tells us that if our eye offends us to pluck it out, if our right hand offends us or causes us to offend God, we should cut if off. So is it unreasonable for him to tell us that if our riches will keep us from the heavenly realm, that we should get rid of them? Is it unreasonable for him to tell us that if we have more of God’s bounty than someone else we should share? Many in the early church did just that (Acts 2:45, Acts 4:34) and when a famine occurred that created a problem in Jerusalem, Paul and Silas, collected for them as well. (Romans 15:26, I Corinthians 16:1)
v.35-36 “35Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 36And 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.”
We are also to be watchmen. This was the lesson that we learned when we studied the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). We are to be ever vigilant; to guard our souls from the wiles of the devil. We are to be prepared for Jesus to return. We are to be standing ready, like servants waiting at the late hour for their master to return home with their lamps burning and standing by the door to open it at the first knock. We are to be girded, ready for travel and active service, prepared to depart immediately to our heavenly home. We will never know what the next hour or the next day may bring. No one but God knows when he will bring this world to an end. Even with the medical advances we have today we will never know when our souls may be demanded of us.
v.37-38 “37Blessed 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. 38And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.”
Jesus here uses some very emphatic language to tell us of the reward for the watchful servants. Because of their dedication they will be served by the Master or Lord himself. They will be treated as honored guests, not as servants. Have any of you ever stood watch? What happens when the hour grows late, the blackness of the midnight comes and stays. Don’t we grow weary and have problems keeping awake? So those who are faithful in the most trying to times will be blessed accordingly. Is it not in the late hour of our watch today, this world has stood for 2000 years since Christ spoke these words. Has the watchfulness of mankind diminished during those years? Of course, it has and continues to diminish even more at the hour grows later.
v.39-40 “39And 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. 40Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.”
We must be constantly vigilant. Satan will give us no peace. Our souls are in danger every hour of every day. Just like this good man in Jesus’ example if we knew what hour to be prepared we would be ready, but we don’t. Just like the burglar that walked into my house in St. Louis all those years ago; if I had known when he was coming I would have been waiting, I would have been prepared. But when he shook our back door he found one that was not locked because we had not been as vigilant as we should have been and he paid us a visit. We should be ready to meet God at all times, because we do not and can not know when he will come (Matthew 24:36).
v.41 “THEN PETER SAID UNTO HIM, LORD, SPEAKEST THOU THIS PARABLE UNTO US, OR EVEN TO ALL?”
Beginning in verse 22 and continuing down through verse 40, Jesus is giving his disciples instruction. Peter, the impetuous one, asks a question that many people would ask today as well. Jesus, are these instructions, these promises of blessings applicable to just us or to all your disciples?
v.42-44 “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? BLESSED is THAT SERVANT, WHOM HIS LORD WHEN HE COMETH SHALL FIND SO DOING. OF A TRUTH I SAY UNTO YOU, THAT HE WILL MAKE HIM RULER OVER ALL THAT HE HATH.”
Jesus doesn’t answer the question directly. Why? Because it is the responsibility of every servant to be a wise and faithful steward over that which God has given him. If that responsibility includes oversight of other servants, such as that held by our elders, then the servant is to be faithful and wise in that responsibility. If that servant is nothing more than one of many servants then he has the responsibility to be a wise and faithful servant as one of many servants. The teachings of Jesus Christ were given for the benefit of all mankind for the entire age that followed, for all are to be servants of God and all are stewards the blessings that God provides through his providence, but especially the word of God.
I Corinthians 4:1-2 “LET A MAN SO ACCOUNT OF US, AS OF THE MINISTERS OF CHRIST, AND STEWARDS OF THE MYSTERIES OF GOD. MOREOVER IT IS REQUIRED IN STEWARDS, THAT A MAN BE FOUND FAITHFUL.”
v.45-46 “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: 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.”