“Two Stewards” (Luke 12:41-48)

Marven Baldo
6 min readAug 7, 2022

There are two kinds of servants that we ought to know. There are two kinds of servants. One good and one... Guess what? A good servant is blessed, while a wicked servant is wretched.

Peter said to Him, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us or to everybody?” The Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward whom his lord will set over his household to give them their portion of food at the right times? Blessed is that servant whom his lord will find doing so when he comes. Truly, I tell you that he will set him over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delays his coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants and to eat and drink and to be drunken, then the lord of that servant will come in a day when he isn’t expecting him and in an hour that he doesn’t know and will cut him in two and place his portion with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his lord’s will and didn’t prepare nor do what he wanted will be beaten with many stripes. But he who didn’t know and did things worthy of stripes will be beaten with few stripes. To whoever much is given, of him, will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him, more will be asked (Luke 12:41-48).

We can find in this passage two kinds of servants.

First is the wicked servant. A person of this sort cannot be entrusted with responsibility and power because he is likely to not turn out responsible but instead lazy, complacent, indulgent, and abusive.

What does a wicked servant do?

“…and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants…” (45b)

We can tell the tree by its fruit. A person who is given to evil will only do evil things out of his evil nature no matter how much he pretends to be a good person and justifies his evil deeds. A wicked servant uses his position to hurt others. He is the type who takes sadistic pleasure in seeing the pain and misery of others especially those whom he is jealous of, whose beautiful qualities stand in stark contrast with the ugliness of his soul. He uses power not to build and uplift but to destroy and suppress.

“…and to eat and drink…” (45c)

A servant’s job is to serve. It is even in the root word. But a wicked servant totally misunderstands this role and sees himself as an overlord instead of what he actually is. He sees the power and the responsibility entrusted him as an end in itself, through which, he can do whatever he wants at whim, exploiting the weak, the unfortunate, and the uneducated instead of bringing out the best in them.

He does not realize the importance of the privilege given him to have the leeway to do what is right and bring happiness to others without any hindrance from those who would otherwise thwart his good intentions. Instead, he makes no distinction between right and wrong. What matters to him is the certain amount of power and influence that he holds among willing subjects who also don’t care about what is right or wrong and whom he keeps ignorant and uneducated that way to keep them subdued and docile, discouraging their virtue and encouraging their vice.

“…and to be drunken…” (45d)

A wicked servant is drunk with power. He sees it as something, from which, he can derive pride and pleasure just thinking about it, being pompous instead of actually rolling his sleeves to undertake some serious work that actually makes a difference for the better and brings in positive changes.

How does the brain of a wicked servant function?

“That servant who knew his lord’s will” (47a)

What makes a wicked servant wickeder is the fact that he knows exactly what he should be doing. His Master has given him detailed and clear instructions of what the former wants done and what needs to be done, which leaves him with no excuse.

“and didn’t prepare nor do what he wanted” (47b)

But despite this full knowledge, a wicked servant refuses to do what his Master told him. Instead, he squanders precious time and resources on trivial matters but turns a blind eye on matters that urgently need addressing. A wicked servant is the epitome of irony. He is rich and iron.

“But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delays his coming…’ ” (45a)

With these words, the wicked servant simply reveals his real attitude of utter disrespect toward his Master. He is counting more on his Master’s seeming ineptitude than the latter’s actual efficiency. He thinks of his Master as a silly fool. He also thinks that his evil deeds will not later on catch up on him, not realizing that punishment usually comes gradually, in stages, and not immediate.

No evil deed goes unpunished. A wicked servant’s wickedness will not last forever. The most reasonable thing to happen is for him to meet his end. How will the Master bring it to pass?

“Then the lord of that servant will come in a day when he isn’t expecting him and in an hour that he doesn’t know” (46a).

The Master will catch the wicked servant unawares as he is reveling in the power that has never been really his but was only delegated to him and can be taken away anytime. The Master will specifically pick an hour wherein he would catch the wicked servant at his worst.

“…and will cut him in two…” (46b)

If God had allowed even Satan to inflict misery on the righteous Job, why would He not do the same, more so, to the wicked servant. He will stretch out his hand to put the wicked servant in his place wherein his body, pride, and interests gets hurt until he is totally devastated and wish he had not existed. God entrusted him with a responsibility; but he the ungrateful wretch failed to recognize the value of what was entrusted to him and instead desecrated and misused it for his selfish gain.

“…and place his portion with the unfaithful…” (46c)

The Master will lump the wicked servant in with his own kind. The wretch who has proven himself to be no better than the problematic people he is supposed to be looking after and lifting up will be given the lifelong opportunity to enjoy the latter’s company as recompense. That is what he has always wanted to be and acted like, anyway, while hiding behind a respectable stature. Why not totally give him what he wants? Such will be the end of the wicked servant.

Let us now talk about the good servant.

“The Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and wise steward?’ ” (42a)

The Lord calls him blessed.

“Blessed is that servant whom his lord will find doing so when he comes” (43).

How blessed can the good servant be?

“…whom his lord will set over his household…” (42b)

So far, the Master has entrusted his good servant with things he is really indifferent about. But since the good servant puts his heart in his work even if it is uninteresting in nature, since he gives his all to be good at it, because he is honest and trustworthy, the Master will entrust him with things that now matters to him personally.

“…to give them their portion of food at the right times…” (42c)

Since the good servant naturally rises above his fellow servants in terms of character, there seems to be nothing left to do but to make it so in terms of stature. He who had been diligent and hardworking and had exceeded his Master’s expectations has proven himself able and qualified to oversee his fellow servants. The Master might see to its actualization.

“Truly, I tell you that he will set him over all that he has” (44).

It is the Master alone who has the prerogative to deal with the things that belong to him and with the overall functions of his household. But since the good servant has proven himself worthy of the Master’s trust, the Master may allow him to have a say about it also. An example of this is Joseph the son of Jacob. The Pharaoh said to him that the only difference between them is the former’s throne and crown. That is how far the lofty character of a good servant may take him.

Passage by Passage: Luke 12 series, episode 8

by: Marven T. Baldo