The ending to today’s Gospel can feel a bit jarring. “The servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely” (Matthew 24:50-51). So jarring, in fact, that the punishment can sometimes get all of my attention. I’ve heard the passage numerous times, but never noticed that in addition to a description of the consequences of not staying awake waiting for the master, there’s also a line indicating what the master has asked of his servant, “To distribute to them their food at the proper time.”
That’s it. Sure, there were likely other chores and responsibilities, but Jesus’ parable only includes this one task.
Take care of the others. Yes, you are my servant, but with that charge comes the call to serve others.
I learned in grad school that in the first story of creation, when the book of Genesis describes that man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), the Hebrew word used for image more directly translates to a plaster cast or statue. In the time during which this story was orally passed on, rulers would erect statues of themselves in communities they were sovereign over, not in a possessive or threatening manner, but as a reminder of how they were to be governed while the ruler was away. Thus man is invited to care for creation in a way that mirrors God’s own love and care.
I can’t help but draw a parallel between that understanding of the story of creation and today’s Gospel. Could not the master’s command to care for his household while he was away be an indication of love he has for those in his charge? What could that say about a master whose main concern is that those in his service are fed properly and taken care of?
And with a new understanding of the parable, I cannot help but feel an urgent call from the Creator to love, serve and care for God’s creation. There is no time to waste. “For you do not know on which day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42). What call do you feel from this Scripture? Sit with it today.There is no time to waste. // Sarah Rose Click To Tweet
Thank you for being here.
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