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Matthew 24:45-51

Rev. Cedric Hughes Jones, Jr.

Mt. Zion Baptist Church

Both Matthew and Luke present this parable in a broader context of being ready for the return of the Son of Man—Jesus our Lord. In Matthew it is placed just before the more famous parable of the ten bridesmaids and just after the teaching about the Son of Man’s coming; the key verse is 24:36 (ESV): “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” Luke nestles the parable between the story of the men waiting for their master to return from a marriage feast and the teaching that Jesus will bring division. Peter asks Jesus who is the focus of his telling the story that the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour, and Jesus replies with this parable (see Luke 12:41). The parable deals less with preparation and more with performance. It focuses on what to do while we wait for the Lord to return and reminds me of a story from my teenage years.

Growing up in Charlotte, I was the youngest and only son of Cedric and Clara Jones. When I was a sixth-grader, my father gave me the keys to all his cars and the house. Dad was intentional about giving his only son responsibilities. I handled having all the keys responsibly for a few years. But one day my parents told me they were going away for an event and wouldn’t return for several hours. I was fourteen. I decided to get into the car and listen to the radio, WGIV, the all-Black AM station back in the day.

I still hear the Brothers Johnson song playing, “the moon is hiding underneath the clouds and what I’m feeling can’t be said out loud, you must be feeling what I’m feeling too …” Anyway, I decided to start the car. Then I slowly backed the car out from the three-pole carport, then pulled it back in. I did it again. Then I got confident and turned up the radio even louder. So loud I didn’t hear myself knocking down the third pole of the carport. Major oops! I didn’t handle the wait for my parents responsibly. My performance was irresponsible.

Without straining the text, I suggest that this parable of Jesus deals with our behavior, our actions, our performance while we await his return. It has particular relevance to those who have been given leadership responsibilities—you might call them keys. Remember, “everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required” (Luke 12:48 NKJV).


• Why did Jesus describe the servant as “faithful and wise” (Matthew 24:45)? Isn’t “faithful” enough?

• As a leader, are you focused on carrying out your current assignment effectively, or are you striving for the next big opportunity?

• How do you handle elevation and the temptations that come with having authority over others?