Faithful Stewards in the Vineyard of the Lord

“Faithful Stewards in the Vineyard of the Lord”
A reflection on Luke 12:39-48
Wednesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
©️2021 by Gloria M. Chang

Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.

Luke 12:39-48

Faithful and wise stewards (Luke 12:42-44) “tend the Lord’s vineyard with delight.” The original work assignment given to adam (humankind) in Genesis 2:15—to serve (abad) and safeguard (shamar) the garden of Eden—takes many forms in various trades, vocations, and occupations. In the parable of the wise and foolish servant, the steward is a manager of a large household of servants. He is responsible for giving them their measured portion of grain or food at the proper time.

The vigilant steward fulfills the master’s will without supervision. When the master returns, the house is running as smoothly as it was before he left. The foolish steward, lacking discipline and reverence for the master, lets the household run amok and even mistreats his servants. 

The Lord enters into judgment
with the people’s elders and princes:
You, you who have devoured the vineyard;
the loot wrested from the poor is in your houses.

What do you mean by crushing my people,
and grinding down the faces of the poor?
says the Lord, the God of hosts.

Isaiah 3:14-15

Actions have consequences by their very nature. Defacing God’s creation defaces the image of God within. Luke 12:46 literally says that the unjust steward will be “cut in two” (dichotomeó). The New American Bible (Revised Edition) translates the word as “beaten severely.”

Indeed, acts of injustice harm everyone and everything—above all, the actors themselves. Like being cut in two, unjust stewards turn their back on the God who is Love and fall into the abyss of self-will where they are also estranged from neighbors and the creation.

Where there is oneness of will, the master is never far away but always in the heart, here and now.

2 Replies to “Faithful Stewards in the Vineyard of the Lord”

  1. Dear GMC, thank you for your encouraging reflection. I find that sometimes even if there is no delight we must stay steadfast in tending the Lord’s vineyard. I find great strength in your words, “Where there is oneness of will, the master is never far away but always in the heart, here and now.” My heartfelt thanks, GMC!

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