The Unforgiving Servant

 The story of the unforgiving servant is intriguing.  A guy who is in debt for a huge amount of money has the debt forgiven by his Master.  When he finds someone who owes him a small amount and can’t pay right away he begins to choke him and demand paynment.  There is a certain amount of violence in the parables of Jesus, especially when it comes to stewards and managers.

I love using big words.  I figure my parents paid for me to learn them, I might as well use them.  One of my favorites is “eschatological” which basically means dealing with the end of the world.  We believe that Jesus will come again to “judge the living and the dead”.  We believe that there will be destruction of this universe and a new Heaven and earth.  Peter, when talking about the end of the world asks a pretty good question in 2 Peter 3 beginning at verse 10.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.a

11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.b That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

14So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

17Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. 18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

What kind of people ought we to be?  People who look forward to the coming of Christ live in a way that shows they are preparing for His coming.  In Luke 12 Jesus tells an interesting story. –

“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.”

Stewards are set over the household to care for it until the Master returns.  We are stewards waiting for Christ.  But look what happens when the Master is delayed (in the servants eyes)?  They start beating each other up!  Could all the conflict that we see in churches today be the result of losing the sense that Christ will soon return.  As Paul says, “Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”

This perspective was shared in one of our theological journals years ago and I cannot find the author.  If anyone can give me the citation and the author I would love to give credit.  It bears thinking about.