Mothers’ Union Devotion Wednesday 20th October 2021
That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. But one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded. Luke 12. 47 – 48
There is an element of Donald Rumsfeld’s famous quotation about today’s gospel reading.
As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we do not know we don’t know.
And the justice that Jesus suggests in this rather unsavoury parable certainly implies that those who do not know things, cannot be held to account in the same way as those who know the whole truth. This does seem to put quite a responsibility on to those in the ‘know’. We have all heard Jesus’ teaching of love your neighbour, forgive 70 times 70, give food to the hungry, clothes to the naked, water to the thirsty. Yet we still have the poor, thirsty and naked. And there is an awful lot of hate around in the world at the moment.
It is easy to understand the attitude of the outside world to those of us who are Christians. If you preach about loving one another, about forgiveness, about taking care of the lost, broken and lowly why are you not following that through with your actions. It is therefore, not surprising that the world is so badly affected when scandals are revealed in the church be it sexual, financial, prejudicial, bullying, or indeed an apparent lack of care and concern for local communities.
Jesus does not say in his parable that anyone is expected to get it right all the time. What Jesus is calling for is that we always act with integrity. We might not always notice those in need, we might not always be able to directly help those in need, but we must never find ourselves saying we do not care about those in need. Or even worse victim blaming – they bought it upon themselves. Jesus’ words also remind us that caring, living an authentic life as followers of Jesus is a continual call. Not something we do when we feel like it, when we will be noticed. Because as Jesus said – you never know when the master will come back.
With all my love and prayers