Stewardship“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (Lk. 12: 48). This quote from Luke’s gospel has always challenged me and made me consider what is required of me as a person of faith. I consider myself to be a person entrusted with much. I am college educated and despite my complaints and struggles about my life, I have not known major material struggle. So what is required of me? It seems to me the answer is contained earlier in Luke’s gospel. Jesus tells us, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (12: 34). And so where is our treasure? Where do we focus our attention and resources? How much of our energy goes toward preserving those things? If the answers to those questions are “me” focused, then we are missing something.
The gospel itself is about stewardship and how we handle what we have. The parable that Jesus tells is of a servant who, not only abuses what has been entrusted to him -indulging himself in excess- but also of how he mistreats those who are left in his care. Jesus clearly states that this servant will be punished.
This reading calls for vigilance and preparedness for the Master’s return. It also calls for a care and stewardship for what has been entrusted to the servant, both in terms of possessions and in terms of persons or relationships. The “much required,” then, is a vigilant stewardship. The presumption is that what is “ours” is on loan to us from God who gifted us with what we have in the first place. Recall this point from last week’s gospel passage which directly precedes this one, of the rich fool who hoards his excess of material wealth and dies without benefit even to himself.
Ultimately this gospel reading is about preparing for the end of time when Jesus, the Master, will return. The vigilance it urges is one of readiness in anticipation of that return. But we will probably not see that end of time. Rather, we will see the end of our time. When our time comes, we will be judged by how we have stewarded what we have and how we have treated others in our care.
So we can ask ourselves, What is the “much” that has been given over to my care? How do I, as an individual, steward those resources? Do I use them for the respectful care and betterment of others?