A FAITHFUL AND WISE STEWARD
Now let us read Luke 12:42-47: "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." If the steward is faithful, the lord, at his coming back, will make him ruler over all that he has. But if he is not faithful, that steward will be cut in sunder and will have his portion with the unbelievers. Please notice that there are two possibilities for the same steward. Both possibilities refer to the same person. This is a matter of the reward of the kingdom. Today, we are in the kingdom to be ruled, but in the next age we will be in the kingdom to rule. Today, the kingdom is an exercise, but in the next age the manifestation of the kingdom will be a reward. First we must be ruled, and then we can rule over something. If we have never been ruled, we can never rule over something. We must be exercised in this age so that we will be qualified to rule in the next age. The present age is the age for the Lord to exercise His children and to prepare His kings. We all must be prepared. As a steward, you must learn how to take care of the household of the Lord. You must learn how to be exercised to be a king and to rule. Then when the Lord comes back, you will be appointed to rule in the kingdom. At that time the manifestation of the kingdom of the heavens will be a reward to you.
There are two possibilities for the same servant. The first possibility is that he would be faithful and be appointed to rule over all that his lord has. The second possibility is that he will be a slothful servant and will be punished by his lord. Some Christians have the wrong concept that these are two different servants. They think that one is the real servant, and the other is the false servant. But by careful reading, we can see that these are not two different servants. It is the same servant with two different possibilities. Instead of being faithful, the steward may quarrel with the brothers and sisters and may beat them. When his lord comes he will surely cut him in sunder and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. He is a believer, but he will suffer in that time as an unbeliever. This does not mean he will lose his salvation. This means he will suffer some loss. When the Lord comes back, he will be beaten. Some Christians would argue that when the Lord comes back we all will simply be resurrected and taken up to be with Him. They cannot imagine that the Lord would punish any believers. It is not my word which says that the lord will beat the servant. The Bible says that he will beat the servant.
We must see several points very clearly. Surely this steward is saved, because once we are saved we can never be lost. Yet because of his unfaithfulness, the steward will suffer a beating from his lord. The lord will reward the faithful one and will punish the unfaithful one.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 49, by Witness Lee)