This week we focus on the dark side, that is, stewards who failed to serve others, carry out their responsibilities, and protect their master’s property.
Shebna was the treasurer (or governor of the palace) for King Hezekiah of Judah (Isaiah 22:15-25). Instead of serving the King and protecting his household, Shebna built an elaborate monument to himself. Proud, arrogant, and untrustworthy, Shebna didn’t serve his royal master well, so Isaiah denounced him. Shebna lost his high-ranking position to Eliakim, son of Hilkiah, a good and faithful man.
Jesus tells many parables about stewards, both good and bad. In Luke 12:13-21, a rich man seeks to increase his wealth, comfort, and treasure by building bigger warehouses, but ultimately loses everything because the Lord requires his life that night, and the rich man cannot take his wealth with him.
In Matthew 25:1-13, five wise servants proactively bring oil for their lamps and are ready for the arrival of the bridegroom, while five others grow careless and complacent, and fail to prepare.
In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), two servants increase their master’s wealth, but another hides his portion out of fear. Luke tells us faithful stewards carry out their duties and await their master’s arrival, while the unfaithful ones slack off, carouse, and abuse others (12:35-48). A dishonest steward about to be fired ensures he will have people to help him. He lightens their burdens by reducing the debts they owe his master (Luke 16:1-8).
God sends us clear messages in these stories on how to be good stewards; we should be vigilant, responsible, and trustworthy. God is also in control of everything, and though it might seem as if wicked people will never be punished, he can bring them down in a moment and replace them with his good and faithful servants.
--Jim Wollak, Parishioner
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