GREAT GIFTS - GREAT RESPONSIBILITIES
"'The servant who knows what his master wants and ignores it, or insolently does whatever he pleases, will be thoroughly thrashed. But if he does a poor job through ignorance, he'll get off with a slap on the hand. Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities.'" Luke 12:47,48 (The Message).
There is something terribly wrong in the world today. God is glaringly absent, ignored or treated as though He does not exist. Read a glossy magazine, listen to the radio, watch the TV; it's all the same. People's gifts and talents are flaunted as if they were solely responsible for acquiring them.
No-one can use the excuse that he or she does not know where they got their gifts because the Bible assures us that everyone knows God. Romans 1:20,21 - "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, having been understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened."
Everyone has been entrusted with something to manage for the Master until He returns, some more and some less, but the attitude is often that these gifts are for us to exploit for our own benefit and advantage. Whether it be beauty, art, music, drama, or any less visible ability, the motive is the same, either money or fame or both. Whatever the reason, it's all about 'me'. It's the 'evil eye' at work again, the greedy and selfish nature in control.
There are at least three things that this way of thinking either forgets or ignores: God's glory, God's purpose and our future destiny. The manager in Jesus' story is a glaring example. He was either deliberately rebellious, or irresponsibly ignorant. Neither is an excuse for failing to carry out the master's requirements. His selfishness cancelled out wisdom. He was living for the moment and forgetting that the master would return.
Tragically, because self dominates, his attitude was even more serious; the greater the gift, the greater the garnering of wealth and popularity for himself. But God looks at it differently; the greater the gift, the greater the responsibility. God gives us gifts firstly so that we can show Him off. Every gift, talent and ability we have is to be honed and used as a witness to what kind of God He is. God is infinitely beautiful, kind and generous and one of the ways He reveals His beauty is through us.
Secondly, God gives us gifts to get the work of His kingdom done on earth. There are a myriad ways in which the things He enables us to do bring, reveal and explain His government on earth.In God's system there is order, harmony, purpose, beauty, generosity, mercy, compassion, etc, and these are accomplished through the gifts He has given us. To use them to enhance ourselves is to abuse them and to abort His plan on earth.
Thirdly, there is no way God will let us get away with rebellion or irresponsibility. Jesus will come back. He has promised. He will call us to account. He said so. His justice will be absolutely just because He gives us the choice regarding our future. Whatever we choose in this life He will confirm in the next. Our Romans passage makes it very clear. "Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done." Romans 1:28 (NIV).
And so Jesus' warning is a serious one. The 'thrashing' unfaithful managers receive will be eternal and so will be the loss, too terrible to imagine, including the loss of the very position He had destined us to occupy in His eternal dominion had we been faithful.
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