The Gospel of Luke:a commentary & meditation 
 "Blessed are they who open at once when he knocks"

Scripture:  Luke 12:35-38

32 35 "Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them.  38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants!

Meditation: The Boy Scouts have as their motto, Be Prepared!  Jesus' master-servant parables seem to extol the virtue of preparedness.  But there is something deeper and even more important behind it.  There is an element of surprise in the story of the master returning home after the marriage feast. Will he catch his servant sleeping rather than keeping watchful guard?   And what about the reward promised for those who faithfully perform their duty, day in and day out, no matter what the circumstances?  The image Jesus uses here is a great wedding feast in which the master honors his guests by seating them in the place of honor and personally waiting on them himself.

This parable contains a lesson in faithfulness and a warning against sloth. Why is faithfulness so important to God?  For one, it's the foundation for any lasting and meaningful relationship.  Faithfulness or fidelity allows us to persevere in living out an unswerving commitment. The Lord is committed to us in a bond of unbreakable love and fidelity.  That is what covenant means -- keeping one's word, promise, and commitment no matter how tough or difficult it gets.  Faithfulness is a key character trait of God and one that he expects of us.  Fortunately God gives the grace and strength to be faithful.  He also rewards faithfulness.
 Why is fidelity, commitment, and faithfulness so difficult today?  Modern society extols freedom over fidelity and doesn't want to be bound to an unknown or uncertain future.  It's also inconvenient and a burden to the pursuit of one's own interests.  We badly need to recover this virtue, not only for our own sake, but for the sake of the next generation as well.  If we want to pass on the faith then we need to first be faithful models for our youth.

Faithfulness demands consistency, a determination to stay the course, and hard work. Cal Ripken, the American baseball player for the Baltimore Orioles, is a sports hero simply because he always shows up and gives his best.  He didn't miss one game in 16 years of playing baseball! That's a total of 2,632 consecutive games.  Only one other player in history has come close to that record.  In 1983 he hurt his hand sliding on artificial turf and was unable to grip the bat at first; he somehow gritted his teeth and got five hits that night, two of them home runs.  The joy and privilege of being a son or daughter of God carries with it an awesome responsibility.  The Lord expects us to make good use of the gifts and graces he gives to us. The more he gives, the more he requires.  The temptation while the Master is away is to put off for tomorrow what we know the Master expects us to do today!  Are you faithful to God and  ready to give him an account of your stewardship?

"Lord, you are faithful even when I fail.  Help me to remain ever faithful to you and to not shrink back when I encounter difficulties.  May always live in your presence and be ready to meet you when you call me on the day of judgment."

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 (c) 1999, 2000 Don Schwager