Parable of the Wise Steward—The Story

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By: Seth Bartley

The Story
A Young girl awoke one night to a horrible crashing sound. The sound persisted; not the crashing sound that woke her, but an inconstant banging. She walked down the halls of her building complex to the apartment parlor where the adults often socialized.

She asked the Others what has happening.
“It’s nothing” said one woman.
“It’s just the pipes” said a man.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure it will stop soon.” another man confidently asserted.

“I didn’t ask if the sound would stop, I asked what was making it.” she protested. Annoyed, the man gave a disgruntled sigh and walked away the disrespectful child.

“It’s an old building; sometimes old things make weird sounds.” Her grandfather reassured her. “Go back to bed.” He made a grunting sound as he stood and said. “See what I mean?”

The Young girl smiled to her loving grandfather. Her family had lived in the building for years, she assumed they had experience and knew what they were talking about, but Something wouldn’t let her shake the feeling that something was very wrong. She had lived there all her life, but she had never heard anything like this before.

Just to be careful she followed the banging sound down the halls wanting to make sure it was nothing that might endanger her family or her beloved Home. Another crash and she knew this was nothing that could be dismissed as trivial. The sound drew her to the basement floor, she gathered her courage, and stepped down to see what was causing the racket.

No one had been in the basement for years; who would want to, it was filthy and filled with crawling creatures. Long ago the overhead Light bulbs had burned out but still had not been replaced. She fumbled across the room, trying to keep quiet as she stubbed her toe on a table or tripped on a loose board. The room was filled with a thick darkness save for one handheld Lamp that pierced the void. He was carrying the Light across the room. A brute of a man; the shadows licked his prowling form like dark flames as the torch of the Lamp washed them into hiding. He held the Lamp before his path and allowed it to lead him around the Foundations of her Home. He was looking at them examining each one in detail then he set down the Lamp and without care or concern lifted his giant hammer and slammed it into the support beam.

That was the sound; he’s destroying our Home! The man raised his weapon again and delivered another blow against her Home and then another. Her Home, however, refused to budge, it withstood his barrage and he relented. Lifting his Lamp this Underminer followed the Light to find any weakness, any at all. He was relentlessly thorough.

‘The Lamp,’ it dawned on her ‘without the Light he could not see any flaws to exploit.’ She moved towards the Lamp hugging the walls careful to stay within the safety of the shadows. The Underminer whacked the mallet against another beam and this one capitulated to his demands; the bang of steel on concrete was replaced with a crackling of stone and a soggy wooden snap of the beam inside. The Young girl had to be swift if she was to save her Home; she darted out like a thief in the night and snatched the Lamp eliciting a furious protest from the assailant.

She ran as fast as she could for the door leaving the Underminer to fumble in the dark. As she went she was able to avoid all the obstacles she had bumped into on the way down, but she could hear the man shout in pain as he kicked his way through the brier patch of forgotten belongings. The Young girl carried the Lamp away and knew that so long as she had the Light she would make it; the Light was safety, the Light was peace, the Light was survival.

She made it out of the basement and gathered her family and neighbors to the threat. The residents demand their Landlord take action. He led his family to the basement determined to save the Home they loved so much. They found the Underminer waiting with his mallet.
“It’s difficult to work without any Light.” He announced, looking to the Young girl.

When the Landlord saw the nature of the basement, the damage the man had inflicted in his short time there, his let loose his wrath upon the Underminer. He demanded the man pay for the destruction he caused to their beautiful Home.

The Underminer’s retorted “Your Home is a rat infested sewer-hole. Have you ever looked around, I mean really looked. You should leave, now.”

The residents responded “There is nothing wrong with our Home, you are the one who should leave!”

“The Foundations are weak” He explained, “it should take more than a few whacks with a mallet to bring them down. Better to know that now than after the building falls.”

“These beams have held up our Home for years before you came” the Landlord assured the man, “and they will continue to stand for years after you leave.”

“Whether it is today or tomorrow; if you refuse to test your own Foundations, I assure you, your Home will become your tomb.”

“How dare you insult us and our Home, have you no respect.”

The Underminer questioned the residents. “You are willing to stake your lives and those of your families on the strength of these Foundations without even once asking if they can truly support you.”

The residents chastised the Underminer for his insolence and demanded he leave. Brushing off the dust from their Home, he grabbed his mallet, and looked to the Young girl holding his Lamp “It’s difficult to work without any Light, but be careful with that Lamp: the Light exposes danger, the Light emboldens chaos, the Light reveals death. Have you ever looked around, I mean really looked.” The Underminer left his Lamp to the use of the residents and walked out of their lives. However, that was just the beginning of the community’s troubles.

The Young girl had heard the Underminer’s words and seemingly for the first time took a hard look at her Home. There was wallpaper peeling off in the hallways cracks in the ceiling and walls, broken windows, more than a few loose floorboards, and water damage from a flood the year she was born. Her family had always taught that they were marks of character, memories of a long and happy life together. Even though his actions that night were thwarted, the Underminer’s damage was done; infighting broke out among the residents as Some began to take his same advise to heart. More than once people were caught taking the Underminer’s Lamp and going into the basement to examine his claims for themselves. They always returned more upset and more demanding upon the Landlord, Some even suggested giving in to the Underminer’s demands and abandon their beloved home. The chaos was building.

The Landlord tried to appease the demands that Some residents had made by buying new flowers for the halls to replace the wilting ones, hanging lovely garden portraits and even dusting off the old chandeliers to brighten up the rooms. It was lovely; walking through the halls of her Home the Young girl felt like she was walking through spring. The romantic image that her family remembered and she had always imagined was renewed in all its’ splendor. But Some residents only became angrier at these cosmetic repairs, as if the beauty itself offended them. A worry began that Someone might actually take up the Underminer’s unfinished task and the Other residents demanded that the Landlord take action to protect their Home.

The Landlord took this threat very seriously and residents took steps to maintain their Home. The basement was sealed and a constant vigil was placed to ensure no one would be able to undermine the Foundations again. Furthermore, no one even spoke about the Underminer’s arguments without fear of ostracized by the community. Finally, just for good measure, the Underminer’s Lamp was left in the basement before it was locked; no one would use it’s Light to expose their Home to danger.

Order was restored and the residents enjoyed peace in their home. Over the years Some would leave, abandon their family, but Others would take their place and find a warm and joyful embrace of their new community family. Some still remained and would constantly remind us of the scar the Underminer left; their shrill complaining voices pierced the peace of their community like his Lamp pierced the shadows in that basement. Eventually if they refused to silence themselves, they were asked to leave. The Other residents would not stand for such treacherous behavior. They were ashamed by their previous lack of vigilance; the Underminer had turned so many of their peaceful flock into ravenous wolves.

Years passed and the Young girl had become a Young mother. Her Young son was lying in bed asleep when he awoke one night to a horrible crashing sound. The Young mother had heard it before, after so long she had thought they were finally safe. She and those old enough to remember the sound came rushing to the parlor to defend their home from this assailant; but there was no interloper, the building itself was collapsing. The residents fled; the Young mother, her Young son, and a few others fell through the collapsing floor into the basement.

Covered by ruble the trapped residents fumbled through the darkness trying to escape. The Young mother came across an old Lamp, ‘the Underminer’s Lamp!’ it dawned on her ‘with the Light we could see any paths to escape.’ It still worked and the group gathered around the Lamp; the Light was safety, the Light was peace, the Light was survival. They could hear the sounds of their neighbors digging frantically searching for lost family. The Young son clung tightly to his mother as she worried about their family; her husband and their daughter.

The Lamp shown brightly throughout the night and its Light pierced the cracks of the rubble shining through and calling the rescuers toward these lost sheep. The stones of their tomb were pulled away and the Young mother realized that it was daybreak as the piercing Light of the Lamp was overwhelmed by the overflowing radiance of the greater Light of the Sun. Some of the residents escaped before it was too late, Others were rescued, so many Others perished, including the Young Mothers husband and their daughter.

Who, what, where, when, why, Huh?
In this article I tried very hard to maintain that line between being so obvious as to insult the intelligence of my readers and being so cryptic as to confuse and frustrate them, I hope I succeeded. After reciting his parables, the Messiah would offer an explanation to those who asked. In that same spirit, I will attempt to provide in a follow up article an explanation of the main thoughts and teachings intended through this parable.

May the LORD bless you and have good day.