32 "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
35 "Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour."
41 Peter said, "Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?" 42 And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, `My master is delayed in coming,' and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master's will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. 48 But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.
Meditation: What is the greatest joy and treasure we
could possibly possess? The Lord Jesus promises that those who
seek God and his kingdom will not be disappointed (Luke 12:32,
Matthew 6:33). The Lord Jesus offers us the greatest treasure
possible - but we must first seek it and make it our true joy and
possession above all else. We naturally want to have and keep
whatever we think will bring us happiness, peace, and security.
Jesus offers a priceless treasure and source of abundant joy and
security that is worth selling all else for.
The priceless exchange and everlasting reward
Jesus tells his followers to not be fearful or anxious about their present lives and future security (Luke 12:32). He urges them to sell their possessions and to give their money to those who need it most - especially those who have nothing to provide for their present needs and welfare (Luke 12:33). This seems to go against our natural instinct to hoard and save for the future. Why would anyone want to sell their possessions and give away their money - unless they wanted to exchange these goods for something far more precious and of greater value than all the money and possessions they could ever hope to acquire in this present life.
Jesus warns that money and possessions will not last and can be taken away at any moment by a thief or by death itself. But there is one treasure which can never be lost or destroyed because it is kept secure by God himself. What is that treasure? It is the Lord himself and his kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). This treasure is worth far more than anything we could possibly acquire on our own. If you make the Lord your treasure, then you will have in your possession the greatest source of joy and lasting peace and security. The wisdom of Scripture tells us, If the Almighty is your gold and your precious silver, then you will delight yourself in the Almighty, and will turn your face toward God (Job 22:25-26). Do you know the joy and happiness of making God your one and only true treasure and security?
The Lord knocks at our door - will we answer him?
What is the meaning of the parable of the master who returns from a wedding feast to his home in the middle of the night (Luke 12:35-40)? The door to one's house in the ancient world was usually bolted from the inside, especially at night to keep out thieves and troublemakers. It was not possible to enter from the outside without help from someone inside. Household attendants (domestic servants) who knew their master's voice were expected to be always vigilant and prepared to unbolt the door and let him in without a moment's delay. This required an attentive watchfulness and listening ear for any sign of the master's approach. No distraction, not even sleep, could be allowed to interfere with the preparation for the master's return. If the servants failed to hear the voice of their master's return, they literally shut him out since he could not unbolt the door from the outside - only they could open the door from within and allow him to enter. Their failure to welcome and serve the master on his return brought shame and dishonor.
If the Lord Jesus knocked on your door today would you be ready and eager to receive him? He wants us to be prepared for his coming - today, tomorrow, at the hour of our departure from this life (our death), and when he comes again at the end of this present world to judge all the living and the dead. The Lord will reward those who have believed in him. The Lord Jesus knocks on the door of our heart each and every day. Do you listen to his word and receive it with trust and joy. The Lord calls to each one of us and he says, "Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will feast together" (Revelations 3:20). Do you hunger for the Lord and for the treasure of his kingdom?
The Lord comes to reward his faithful servants
Jesus' parable adds an unexpected reward for those who have faithfully served and watched for the master's return. When the master finally arrived home from the wedding feast at a late hour of the night, he did the unthinkable for his servants who were present to welcome and let him in. He then puts on a servant's apron and tells his servants to be seated at his own banquet table. Once they are all seated the master then personally waits on them and serves them with his own rich food and drink (Luke 12:37). Jesus' parable turns the world's way of thinking upside-down. The master rewards his faithful servants by serving them himself with the best he has to offer - a royal feast fit for a king and his loyal subjects. Are you prepared to feast with the Lord at his banquet table?
Jesus' parable has an important lesson for each one of us. Just as Jesus was faithful and ready to obey his Father in everything - even to the point of laying down his life on the cross for us, we too are called to be faithful and obedient to the Lord's will for our lives. How can we grow in faithfulness and obedience to the Lord? The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit who frees us from pride and fear, so we can hear the Lord and embrace his way of love and faithfulness. If we fail, the Lord will not fail us. He gives strength to the weak and to those who turn to him with trust in his mercy and help. Ask the Lord Jesus to fill you with his Holy Spirit and with a holy desire to seek the Lord and his kingdom first above all else.
Psalm 40:7-10, 16
6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire; but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
7 Then I said, "Behold, I come; in the roll of the book it is written of me;
8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; Behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD.
10 I have not hid your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, "Great is the LORD!"
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: The true meaning of 'loins girded and lamps burning', by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
"The girding of our loins (Luke 12:25) signifies the readiness of
the mind to work hard in every thing praiseworthy. Those who apply
themselves to bodily labors and are engaged in strenuous toil have
their loins girded. The lamp apparently represents the wakefulness
of the mind and intellectual cheerfulness. We say that the human
mind is awake when it repels any tendency to slumber off into that
carelessness that often is the means of bringing it into
subjection to every kind of wickedness. When sunk in stupor, the
heavenly light within the mind is liable to be endangered, or even
already is in danger from a violent and impetuous blast of wind.
Christ commands us to be awake. To this, his disciple also arouses
us by saying, 'Be awake. Be watchful' (1 Peter 5:8). Further on,
the very wise Paul also says, 'Awake, O sleeper, and arise from
the dead: and Christ shall give you light' (Ephesians 5:14)." (excerpt
from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 92)