From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.—Luke 12:48
The late Robert Kennedy of the famed and privileged Kennedy clan often quoted that verse to his family. Given much, they demanded much of themselves. The family viewed public service as its way of giving back.
People like the Kennedys come to mind whenever we think of those who are given much. Of course we expect more of them. It’s only fair. Or is it?
Certainly it’s fair to expect those with bountiful blessings to be a blessing to others. But here’s a revelation: Most of us are not like the Kennedys. (Wow, and I bet you thought you had just misplaced your seaside vacation mansion.) Most of us are struggling to get through the day as we juggle the demands of our dead-end jobs with the stresses of our dysfunctional families. Insert sigh here.
So does that mean the rest of us are off the hook? I don’t think so. Maybe it’s time we rethink our interpretation of “given much.” How often do we think of “given much” only in terms of good things? Isn’t the hand that brings bounty the very same hand that brings blight?
But everything comes from God.—1 Corinthians 11:12
Sometimes our “much” is in our deprivation. We may endure much. We may want for much. What does God expect us to do with that “much”? Surely not much!
I’ve talked here about how, for 25 years of my life, I was abused and abandoned. I’ve seen the worst of what the world has to offer, all of it culminating in the suicides of my mother and sister six months to the day of each other.
I have suffered much. Part of me wanted to hoard that pain. It was mine. No one else could understand it, so no one else could share it.
But for the much that I’ve suffered, Jesus asks for much in return.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.—2 Corinthians 1:3-4
I’ve used my childhood experiences to help me reach out to children from unstable homes, to help them understand they are not to blame for the ugliness around them, and to point them toward a good and gracious God who loves them and has a purpose for them. I’ve used my experience with suicide to minister to those who lose loved ones in that especially horrible way, to help them understand they are not responsible for the decisions their loved ones made in those final and regrettable moments.
Each time I minister to someone from the deep recesses of my pain, God pours a healing balm over my wounds. I give from my “much,” and He gives me back much more.
God expects much from you. First, ask yourself what your “much” is. Maybe it’s a self-esteem issue. Maybe it’s a financial struggle. Maybe it’s emotional alienation. Maybe it’s loneliness. Whatever it is, give that “much” back. Make yourself available to others who are suffering as you are.
In the 2010 movie Alice in Wonderland, Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter tells a grown-up Alice, “You’ve lost your muchness.” Don’t be like Alice. Don’t lose your muchness. Instead, give much back.