“I’ll take parable connections for 300, Alex.”
“Okay. The common condition of those who, because they are rich, are consumed incessantly with building bigger barns, and those who, because they are not so rich, are preoccupied continually with putting food on their table and clothes on their back.”
“Uh . . . what is snoozin”?”
Not sure why, exactly, but over these past few days it’s been Luke 12 in my reading plan that continues to capture my thoughts over the other readings for the day. So, here’s part three in stories about keeping the main thing the main thing.
And today’s reading seems to be the concluding story. The story which identifies the dangerous, common condition of those distracted by the material world — regardless of whether that distraction is driven by how to live in abundance or, driven by how to survive amid scarcity.
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. . . . You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
(Luke 12:35-37a, 40 ESV)
After His story about a rich fool (Lk. 12:13-21), and then His story about ravens and lilies (Lk. 12:22-34), Jesus concludes this trilogy of parables with a story about blessed servants (Luke 12:35-48). And who is the blessed servant? The one who the master finds awake when he comes again. The one who’s not snoozin’.
This blessed servant stands in contrast to the rich man who, while he pursued how to maximize the good life, failed to lay up treasure for himself for the after life. Because his possessions ultimately possessed him, he wasn’t ready for the night when his soul was required of him and he was translated into a different economy — one in which the “rich man” was “not rich toward God.” Because, though he was busy accumulating wealth and building barns, he wasn’t “awake.” He was snoozin’.
And blessed servants also stands in contrast to the not so rich, those who are anxious about how they are going to feed and clothe themselves. As such, they pursue what their Father already knew they needed to the exclusion of seeking the Father and His kingdom. Thus, also failing to provide themselves with “treasure in the heavens that does not fail.” And how come? They were so busy earning a temporal living that they fell asleep at the eternal wheel. They too were snoozin’.
But blessed servants are those who are awake when the master returns. Though they are just as busy and preoccupied as the rich and not so rich, they are dressed for action with lamps burning doing what the master has asked them to do while the master is away. Occupying themselves with his charge on their lives. Resisting the temptation to allow the master’s delay to shift their focus away from faithful service towards self-fulfillment. They are not snoozin’. Their heads are in the game. They’re awake.
And that’s why they enjoy the Master’s blessing. That’s how they lay up treasure in heaven. That’s how they become rich toward God.
“Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!”
(Luke 12:37-39 ESV)
Not snoozin’ . . . by His grace.
Awake, with our heads in the game . . . for His glory.