“Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required” (Luke 12:42-48)

Εἶπεν δὲ ὁ κύριος, Τίς ἄρα ἐστὶν ὁ πιστὸς οἰκονόμος καὶ φρόνιμος, ὃν καταστήσει ὁ κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς θεραπείας αὐτοῦ, τοῦ διδόναι ἐν καιρῷ τὸ σιτομέτριον; Μακάριος ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος, ὃν ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εὑρήσει ποιοῦντα οὕτως.Ἀληθῶς λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐπὶ πᾶσιν τοῖς ὑπάρχουσιν αὐτοῦ καταστήσει αὐτόν.Ἐὰν δὲ εἴπῃ ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ, Χρονίζει ὁ κύριός μου ἔρχεσθαι, καὶ ἄρξηται τύπτειν τοὺς παῖδας καὶ τὰς παιδίσκας, ἐσθίειν τε καὶ πίνειν καὶ μεθύσκεσθαι·ἥξει ὁ κύριος τοῦ δούλου ἐκείνου ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ᾗ οὐ προσδοκᾷ, καὶ ἐν ὥρᾳ ᾗ οὐ γινώσκει· καὶ διχοτομήσει αὐτόν, καὶ τὸ μέρος αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν ἀπίστων θήσει.Ἐκεῖνος δὲ ὁ δοῦλος ὁ γνοὺς τὸ θέλημα τοῦ κυρίου ἑαυτοῦ, καὶ μὴ ἑτοιμάσας μηδὲ ποιήσας πρὸς τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ, δαρήσεται πολλάς·ὁ δὲ μὴ γνούς, ποιήσας δὲ ἄξια πληγῶν, δαρήσεται ὀλίγας. Παντὶ δὲ ᾧ ἐδόθη πολύ, πολὺ ζητηθήσεται παρʼ αὐτοῦ· καὶ ᾧ παρέθεντο πολύ, περισσότερον αἰτήσουσιν αὐτόν.

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? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.

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, 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.

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. 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.

Luke 12:42-48, Revised Standard Version

 


12:42-48

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The parable about the steward shows how a Christian should behave with relation to worldly things. A steward diligently does his work, but in his heart he is not attached to anything. He is free from all bongs; he relates to everything externally. So also must a Christian be in relation to all worldly things. But is this possible? It is possible. As there exists outward piety without inward piety, so worldly concern which is only outward and without inner bonds is also possible. Bud in such a case will everything around us turn into a mere lifeless form, emitting coldness like a marble statue? No – in the midst of worldly things another life will develop which is more attractive than the fullest worldliness. Worldly things, being worldly things, will remain as a form, while that which warms the heart will start to proceed from another source, and whoever drinks from this source will no longer experience thirst (cf. John 4:14). But in such a case is it better to drop everything? What for? Even one who outwardly drops everything can still be attached in his heart, and one who does not outwardly drop everything can be free from bonds. Of course it is easier for one who outwardly renounces everything, to control his heart. Choose what is most suitable to you – just dispose yourself to be as the Lord commands.

St. Theophan the Recluse, Thoughts for Each Day of the Year

 


12:42 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?

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For to this servant are they like, who have money, and give not to the needy. For thou too art steward of thine own possessions, not less than he who dispenses the alms of the church. As then he has not a right to squander at random and at hazard the things given by you for the poor, since they were given for the maintenance of the poor; even so neither mayest thou squander thine own. For even though thou hast received an inheritance from thy father, and hast in this way all thou possessest: even thus all are God’s. And then thou for thy part desirest that what thou hast given should be thus carefully dispensed, and thinkest thou not that God will require His own of us with greater strictness, or that He suffers them to be wasted at random? These things are not, they are not so. Because for this end, He left these things in thine hand, in order “to give them their meat in due season.” But what meaneth, “in due season?” To the needy, to the hungry. For like as thou gavest to thy fellow-servant to dispense, even so doth the Lord will thee too to spend these things on what is needful. Therefore though He was able to take them away from thee, He left them, that thou mightest have opportunity to show forth virtue; that bringing us into need one of another, He might make our love for one another more fervent

St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily LXXVII

 


12:46 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?

IC1JC11

Seest thou how even everywhere He puts this, the fact of their ignorance, indicating that it was profitable, and by this making them always earnest minded? For this is the point at which He labors, that we should be always on the watch; and since it is always in luxury that we are supine, but in afflictions we are braced up, therefore everywhere He saith this, that when there is relaxation, then come the terrors. And as further back He showed this by the example of Noah, even so here He saith it is, when that servant is drunken, when he is beating, and that his punishment shall be intolerable.

But let us not regard only the punishment appointed for him, but let us look to this other point too, lest we ourselves also be unawares to ourselves doing the same things. For to this servant are they like, who have money, and give not to the needy. For thou too art steward of thine own possessions, not less than he who dispenses the alms of the church. As then he has not a right to squander at random and at hazard the things given by you for the poor, since they were given for the maintenance of the poor; even so neither mayest thou squander thine own. For even though thou hast received an inheritance from thy father, and hast in this way all thou possessest: even thus all are God’s. And then thou for thy part desirest that what thou hast given should be thus carefully dispensed, and thinkest thou not that God will require His own of us with greater strictness, or that He suffers them to be wasted at random? These things are not, they are not so. Because for this end, He left these things in thine hand, in order “to give them their meat in due season.” But what meaneth, “in due season?” To the needy, to the hungry. For like as thou gavest to thy fellow-servant to dispense, even so doth the Lord will thee too to spend these things on what is needful. Therefore though He was able to take them away from thee, He left them, that thou mightest have opportunity to show forth virtue; that bringing us into need one of another, He might make our love for one another more fervent.

St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily LXXVII

 

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