Scripture Focus: Luke 12.41-48
41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” 
42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. 

Reflection: Friendly Neighborhood Christians
By John Tillman

In Spider-Man’s origin story, Peter’s uncle, Ben Parker, tells his super-powered nephew, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Versions of this idea floated around our culture for many years. Before Ben Parker, Churchill and both Roosevelts said similar things. There’s even a version in an early Superman film.

However, Stan Lee cemented “with great power” into our culture through Spider-Man comics of the 60s and 70s, and it became a defining theme for Peter Parker’s moral compass and the Marvel universe. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, the aphorism is a good paraphrase of Luke 12.48.

Ben Parker shared his wisdom with Peter at a moment of confusion in his life. Jesus shared his version with Peter, his often confused disciple. Peter was confused about the parable of watchfulness. Who was Jesus saying should be watchful?

Jesus answered by continuing the parable, starting with a question, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager…?” (Luke 12.42) Jesus says the faithful manager feeds the other servants and cares for them. This is echoed later when Jesus commands Peter to “Feed my sheep.” (John 21.17) By contrast, the wicked manager feeds himself to excess and abuses both men and women.

Many people love to costume themselves as heroes, but they have no humility and serve only their own interests. These fake heroes are wicked managers who demand loyalty and immunity rather than taking responsibility or submitting to accountability. In society and the church we have many leaders who dominate and abuse rather than serve and feed. Jesus warns, they will be harshly judged.

So, are these warnings just for powerful people? Just for the world? Just for the disciples? They are for “everyone who has been given much.” (Luke 12.48)

Jesus’ disciple Peter had little power or influence. Perhaps you feel the same. However, we have been “given much.” Neither Peter Parker nor Peter the disciple knew what was in store for them or what power was at work in them. Don’t forget what we’ve been given. 

We have the Holy Spirit of God within us, the gospel to take with us, God’s word to guide us, and a world in need before us. Don’t try to be a hero. Just be a faithful manager of what you have and where you are. You don’t need to be a “hero” influencer or leader. Don’t underestimate the power of being a “friendly neighborhood Christian.”

Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Jesus taught us, saying: “Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire. I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.” — Matthew  7.15-20

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

​Today’s Readings
Zechariah 3 (Listen 1:48)
Luke 12 (Listen 7:42)

Read more about Christ, the True Hero
“With great power comes great responsibility” is a rephrase of Luke 12:48.
The deeper truth of Spider-man’s proverb is that the powerful are seldom responsible.

Apply or tell a student!
Still a couple spots left! #Write with us for #StudentWritersMonth. Get #FreeCoaching, seminars by special guests, published work, and a scholarship/stipend.