Jesus will come like a thief in the night. We don’t know exactly when. We don’t know exactly how. So we have to be ready all the time. We can’t let our guard down. If the homeowner knew exactly when the thief was coming, he would make sure the door was locked. He would be ready for the intruder to stop his actions. He would be alert and aware. We don’t know when Jesus is coming for us, and we have to be ready when it happens.
As Jesus is telling the parable about the thief and preparedness, Peter wants to know if the message is meant just for the disciples, or if it’s for everyone. And Jesus answers with another parable. He says that the steward who lets his guard down will not have his master’s favor at his return. The trusted servant who is given charge of the property needs to be especially vigilant. If he takes advantage of his master’s delay and doesn’t perform his job, he will be punished at the master’s return. If this steward knew exactly when his master would be back, he would make sure everything was in readiness for the master. But if he let things slide and was surprised by his master’s return, his master would not be happy that the work was not done. And what of the other servants? They slacked off as well. Will they not be punished? Certainly, but the one with more authority, the one who was more trusted, the one the master depended on the most to see that things were right, that one will get the brunt. He has let the master down even more since he was trusted and did not fulfill that trust. “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” The ones with more authority, the ones who have been given trust have more responsibility to perform better. With great power comes great responsibility. The disciples and their successors were given trust and power and they need to live up to that trust. They especially need to be always at the ready and encourage others as well.
But in a bigger sense we are all disciples. We all know the rules. We all need to be ready and stay ready, because we do not know the day or the hour. If we knew exactly when Jesus was coming for us, we would certainly be prepared. But we don’t know, so we have to stay alert and be ready at any time.