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An ILC Chapel Talk–

“For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” — Luke 12:48


The captain of the supertaker Exxon Valdez was responsible to get his cargo of millions of gallons of crude safely from Valdez, Alaska, to the refinery in California. But he went aground, with some awful results. He was supposed to be able to handle the responsibility–“to whom much is given, from him much will be required.”

The captain of a supersonic jetliner has an awesome responsibility to safeguard the lives of hundreds of passengers. Woe to him if he botches his approach at O’Hare Field. “To whom much has been committed, of him will they ask the more.”

The president of the United States holds a powerful position of great responsibility in this globe’s crazy career through history. Woe to all of us if he and his staff mismanage their high calling. “To whom much is given, from him much will be required.”

The Challenge

Each man in his pivotal position has been given a high responsibility job, and we must assume each has been prepared for that commitment. After all, the captain is no longer a novice seaman; the pilot no longer a kid in grammar school; the president no longer a freshman college student.

This is also a truth for God’s kingdom work and workers. This is God’s standard for you in high school, you in college, you in seminary, and for me in retirement. It’s really quite simple.

For example, the ninth grader is not responsible for doing the homework for College Math 101. But it is fair and right for Naomi and Kelly and Adam and Amy to be responsible for ninth grade work. That’s the principle. Collegiates have been prepared to handle heavier materials and are held responsible to do so; seminarians have reached another level of preparation up the ladder of responsibilities. But for each new or increased responsibility there has been suitable preparation. We each receive input before we have to produce output. Nobody would expect Tim or John or Mark to function as a pastor without first becoming prepared for it. And of course, the Lord of the Church Himself will support each of us for whatever responsibilities He gives us.

So we get the point that God expects us to be responsible. He expects us to produce output, to carry out our assignments in life as best we can. That’s our job in life for our God and Lord: a life of sanctification as student, as teacher, as pastor, as housewife, as wage-earner.

Now that may be interpreted as the Law part of this word of Jesus: He asserts the rights of God upon your life. You and I are made aware that God has a job for us to do. You and I have responsibilities, duties, assignments.

The Encouragement

And there is the encouraging half to this Word of God too. It’s in the first half of each statement: “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

This tells us that there is nothing God will ask of you that He hasn’t already equipped you for. Does God ask for your devotion? Not unless He has already won your heart to look to Him as your dear heavenly Father. Has your heart not already been touched by the warmth of His love, so you know it in your bones that God will never turn His back on you? Do you not comprehend this amazing grace that by God’s mercies you have been reclaimed from hellfire and have been brought to His side and into His arms? Are you not amazed that, because God’s heart is so devoted to love such miserable creatures as we are, you and I have been salvaged from the gutter of this world’s degenerate self-serving suicidal slide to destruction?

So when God asks us to serve Him, it is so only because He has prepared us to do so. He has given us the heart for it, the motivation from our soul to His. He has also given us the means: our brain, good enough to acquire knowledge of ourselves and of Him, the Almighty; He has given enough Bible knowledge to do entry-level witnessing. He has given us enough people-skills to know how to build bridges into another heart. So when our God asks us to be good stewards of our talents and resources, even of the money we have to spend week by week, we know we can do so. He wouldn’t ask us to do something we weren’t already empowered for doing. “To whom much has been given, of him shall much be required.”

Now I’m going to admit that I have been tempted to look for the loophole, for a passage that would say: “To whom little has been given, of him shall little be required.” But I can’t find it.

God from His view does not consider anyone in His family to be shortchanged on blessings. It is only a sinful human view that God has not given much to me, and so that’s why I don’t have a lot of that good stuff to administer in service to Him. Like I don’t have a body and soul, house and home, money and goods, my brain and all my members.

Shame on me, and on anyone who sits back to let others do the service God asks of me, and for which He has endowed me with every good gift of body and soul. Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom–and the kingdom work–prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

–Prof. em. Paul Koch