Reading: Luke 12.39-48
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.’
Peter said, ‘Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?’ And the Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom his master will put in charge of his slaves, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that slave says to himself, “My master is delayed in coming”, and if he begins to beat the other slaves, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful. That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. But one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.’
From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.
When we pause to meditate on these words we soon realize just how challenging they are. On Monday we read of the rich man whose harvest was so great that he felt the need to build larger barns to hold the abundance of his riches. That man gave no thought whatsoever to the needs of those less fortunate than himself. Yesterday, Jesus warned us of the need to be constantly ready for the moment when we will be judged for the way we have lived out our lives in this world. Today, Jesus is explicitly telling us that it is our Christian duty to use our God-given riches wisely.
The riches we are given come in many different forms. For some, those riches involve actual worldly wealth: large amounts of money and property, sometimes earned and sometimes inherited. For others, those riches manifest themselves in the form of skills and talents. Just think of the current popular television programme The Repair Shop, where a group of very talented people use their skills to bring joy back into the lives of those who have been disappointed by the deterioration of emotionally valuable artefacts. Whatever form the riches come in, we all have them. Every single person on this earth possesses a wealth that was God-given. Jesus is telling us to recognize those riches for what they are and to use them. We are not called to store them up as though they are exclusively ours.
Jesus said: From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.
What do these words mean to you? Do you treat them as just another one of those quirky sayings from the bible that are easy to gloss over and ignore? Do you take them more seriously than that? Do you understand the message but choose to impose your own limitations on just how much of yourself and your possessions you are prepared to share with others? Do you understand the message and look for every possible opportunity to bring Christian light and love into the lives of others through the riches, talents and skills God has given you?
Today’s challenge is obvious! How will your balance sheet look when it is examined by God himself?