September 22, 2021 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Luke 12:48b (NRSV)
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.
Jesus says that from those to whom much has been given, much will be required. But how easy it is for us to receive God’s gifts as if they are mainly for our own benefit. Oh, may God show us how to use all of our gifts in service to others as we live each day under God’s authority and for God’s kingdom purposes.
Today’s devotion is part of the series Following Jesus Today.
When I was a boy, my family lived just up the street from my mother’s parents Because I enjoyed the company of my grandparents, and because they cleverly filled their kitchen cupboards with abundant treats, I spent hundreds of hours with the people I called Ama and Poppy.
Each of them had a profound influence on my life. From Poppy I learned how to build and invent, and how to think rationally about my faith. From Ama I learned about the history of my family and how to give public speeches. And from both Poppy and Ama I learned the core truth of Luke 12:48: “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.”
My grandparents were always very affirming of my gifts and talents. They would compliment me generously when I used my strengths well, whether in school, in my grandfather’s workshop, or in oratorical competitions. But with their affirmations came a consistent exhortation: “From one to whom much has been given, much will be required.” Ama and Poppy expected me to steward well all of my gifts, which, for them, meant doing things to make the world a better place. The “score” of my life wasn’t a matter of fame, riches, popularity, or achievement. It was all about improving the quality of life for my fellow human beings, especially those who were not born with the advantages I had been given.
I expect both Ama and Poppy inherited this “stewardship ethic” from their own families of origin. But I think they were also influenced by Jesus’s statement in Luke 12:48: “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.” What did Jesus mean by this? In context, he was commenting on a parable in which a master entrusted all of his possessions to one of his slaves. Yet this slave did not steward well what had been given to him, taking advantage of his fellow slaves while indulging his own fleshly desires. Though he had been given much, he did not measure up to what was required of him.
As we reflect on what Jesus said in Luke 12:48, we’re reminded that we must steward well what God has given to us. This includes such things as personal talents and spiritual gifts, to be sure. And so much more. I’d imagine that if you took some time to write down all that God has given to you, your list would be quite lengthy. Remembering what Jesus said in Luke 12:32, it should include the kingdom of God, the gracious reign of God over your life. You get to live in an intimate, meaningful, transformational, and purposeful relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords, not because you earned it, but because of God’s amazing grace in your life.
What has God given you so that you might steward it well for his purposes?
How do you think you’re doing on your “stewardship” score?
Is there anything in your life right now that you might use more effectively in God’s service?
As you think about all that you’ve received from the Lord, consider whether you’re stewarding well these gifts. Ask the Lord to show you how you might be a more faithful steward of his gifts.
Lord Jesus, thank you for the reminder that to whom much has been given, much will be required. That means you expect much from me because you have given so much to me. For your lavish gifts I thank you. Help me to steward them well for you and your purposes.
Lord, if there is some gift I am not using well right now, help me to see it. Show me how better to use this gift for work of your kingdom. May all I do and all I say honor you and give you glory. Amen.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. An article on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: From an Attitude of Ownership to Trusteeship
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.