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Let’s look at that sentence in its context by reading Luke 12:42-48, “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.  And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

The Lord had just given his disciples a parable about being watchful for His return.  We have Peter’s words in Luke 12:41, “Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?”  Peter wanted to know if this parable was just for the Lord’s disciples or if it was for everyone.  The Lord goes on to speak of faithful and unfaithful servants.  He speaks of all those who profess to be servants, whether they are true servants or not.

This portion concerns the servant of a certain master, or lord.  His master had entrusted him with certain responsibilities.  The first part of this story deals with a faithful servant who was continually occupied with serving his master.  The second part warns about this servant being wicked and not caring for his master.  While the master was away, this servant showed his true character.  He was cruel to others, he over-indulged in the pleasures of life, and he stopped looking for his master to return.  We see that while a faithful servant will be rewarded greatly, an evil servant will be punished severely.

The lesson here for us is quite simple.  The Lord calls us to be His servants.  He has work for us to do and He entrusts us with the task of being faithful and wise to Him.  There are those who are true servants of the Lord through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Those are the servants that love the Lord and desire to please and honor Him.  There are also those who are not true servants.  They have no love for the Lord; they just pretend to be true followers and servants.

When the Lord returns to the earth, it will be a day of reckoning.  To those who are true servants, there will be a wonderful commendation from the Lord.  To those faithful servants we read this in Matthew 25:21, “…Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”  To the unfaithful servant, the one who is not a servant at all, but merely professes, we hear these words in Matthew 25:30, “…cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  I encourage you to read this similar parable in Matthew 25:14-28.

It was concerning the unprofitable, evil servant that the Lord spoke these words in Luke 12:48, “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…”  There is an important principle given to us here: the greater the privilege, the greater the responsibility.  For believers, it means there will be different degrees of rewards in Heaven.  For the unbelievers, it means there will be different degrees of punishment in Hell.

To those believers who are faithful to what the Lord has given them to do, there will be greater rewards than those who are slack in their service to the Lord.  Those who have heard the clear word of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, yet continue to reject Him, are more responsible than those who do not have have easy access to the Gospel.  In a nation, such as America, where there is freedom to preach the Gospel, and where the Gospel goes forth freely, those who hear and refuse to bow their knee to the Lord will be ‘beaten with many stripes.’  If you have not done so, I encourage you to bow your knee to the Lord today and receive Him as your savior and Lord.  Whether there are few stripes, or many stripes, Hell will be a place of terrible and everlasting torment.  There is no need for anyone to suffer the punishment of Hell.  The Lord Jesus says in John 6:37, “…him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  (87.4)