President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in a speech in 1961 paraphrased these words of Jesus from Luke 12:48
"From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded."
Many people think that this axiom focuses on wealthy people, but that is not true. In reality, we have all been extravagantly blessed by God’s abundant grace; by the spirit-breathed holy scriptures; and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
God has lavishly bestowed the delights of this world on his people: the lakes and streams; the sun, moon, and stars; the bounty of the gardens; the joy of family and friends, and so much more.
We have been blessed with finances and time and an array of talents ready to be unleashed in order to lift up the name of Jesus, whether it be as an athlete, a musician, an artist, a chef, a business man, an office worker, a truck driver, or a medical professional. Each of us has gifts that can be used to build up the kingdom of God, including spiritual gifts.
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:6–8).
One of the most tangible gifts for Christians is the security, encouragement, and pleasure we receive as we worship in our church community. During these past months, when gathering together was not possible, the emptiness and void in our lives was profound. While we have struggled through these difficult times, we must join together in our “recovery", healing the emotional wounds and ensuring that the storehouse of Gods’ people is filled to the brim, so that we may continue to be edified by our church leaders and fulfill the directive to help others. We are reminded of this by the passage in Matthew 25:31-46 when Jesus said:
“I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me” (verses 35-36). When the righteous ask Him, “When did we do these things for you?” He responds, “To the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me” (verse 40).
As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving, may we embrace the generosity that we have received and respond in kind.
“Freely you have received; freely give.” Matthew 10:8