There are many very strong warnings in Scripture about what we have been entrusted with, and our responsibility to rightly use it. In Luke 12:48 we find these words of Jesus: “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.”
He of course offered similar warnings in his parable of the ten talents in Matt. 25:14-30 (and the parallel account in Luke 19:11-27). There we see the principle of Luke 12:48 clearly stated. Those who put the talents to good use were rewarded and given more. Those who did not, but sat on them or hid them, were severely rebuked.
As the master said to the “last, wicked servant”: “So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (vv. 28-30).
Very strong words indeed. When God entrusts us with something, he expects us to use it. We are not to sit on it, forget about it, ignore it, or trifle with it. Instead, we are to use it for the glory of God, and the good of others. God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others.
The most obvious gift which God has given us is the good news of the gospel. We are entrusted with the gospel, not to hoard it, but to share it far and wide. If we are not actively, wilfully and regularly seeking to share this greatest of all gifts, then we really have to ask some hard questions about ourselves and our faith.
It is not just in the New Testament that we find this strong sense of urgency in sharing the good things God has given us. There is a very interesting story found in the Old Testament which some of you might be familiar with. It deals with this very same theme, and the obvious application of it for us today should not go unnoticed.
The story itself can be found in 2 Kings 6:24-7:20. It concerns a siege which has been laid by the king of Aram against the city of Samaria. It was a very thorough and lengthy siege which contributed to a horrible famine. Indeed, things became so bad that we read this appalling account of what the Samaritans had to resort to:
“As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, ‘Help me, my lord the king!’ The king replied, ‘If the LORD does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?’ Then he asked her, ‘What’s the matter?’ She answered, ‘This woman said to me, “Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.” So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, “Give up your son so we may eat him,” but she had hidden him’” (vv. 26-29).
What a ghastly and awful scene. We can hardly grasp the desperation of these poor souls. But we read further about how both the siege and the famine was overcome. Four lepers outside the gate engage in a conversation which may be one of the more amusing episodes in Scripture:
“They said to each other, ‘Why stay here until we die? If we say, “We’ll go into the city”—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die’.” (7:3-4).
So they head to the camp of the Arameans, only to find it deserted, due to a miraculous work of the Lord. So they gorged themselves on food and gathered up the many treasures. But then they are struck with some Godly sense: “We’re not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves” (7:7).
The spiritual implications for believers today are of course all too apparent. Indeed, this entire story provides a great picture of what the gospel is all about. We are all in a spiritual famine, besieged by Satan, and surely doomed. There is no way out.
But then a way out does appear. And it is incumbent upon those who have found this good news to share it with others. Jesus has made a way for us to be set free from sin and death. Those of us who have found that great salvation now have a solemn obligation to tell others about it as well.
While this OT story obviously has a direct bearing on what we as Christians should be doing with the gospel message, there are other implications as well. Anything which God has given us – talents, wealth, knowledge, possessions, abilities – must be used for Christ and his Kingdom.
We dare not sit on them or refuse to use them. God’s gifts to us are never an end in themselves. They are always meant to be passed around to others. Again, the implications of this are manifold. They are so many applications of this truth.
For example, believers have the truth of not just the gospel, but of all the key issues of the day. For example, we have – or should have – the truth about things like the sanctity of life (abortion, euthanasia, etc.), about God’s plans for family and sexuality, his means of living a successful and fulfilled life, and the like. Do we know these truths? Are we sharing them?
What are we doing with all that God has given us? Are we passing it all around as freely as we have received it? We better be. Remember what the four lepers so wisely said: “We’re not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves.”
We believers all have so much good news and so many great gifts. Are we doing right with them, or are we just keeping it all to ourselves? All of us need to take stock here. Remember, one day we will all give an account of the many good gifts we have been given.