“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.” ~Luke 12:48

Jesus fed the five thousand with some rolls and a couple of fish. Scripture tells us he gave the food to his disciples and they, in turn, passed it on to the crowds. But what if the disciples had just held on to the food?

“Hey, thanks for the lunch, Jesus.”

Then Jesus hands them more. “Oh! OK. Thanks for the dinner, too, Jesus.”

Then Jesus gives them more. “Wow! Allright! Thank you, Jesus.” What if the disciples started looking around for some to-go boxes? What if they began trying to figure out how to get all this food home? What if Jesus’ followers had just held onto the food for themselves when their Lord was giving them more than enough to share with everyone in the crowds who had need?

Along with God’s great gifts comes great responsibility.

I never could shake those words of Jesus at the end of Luke 12. They didn’t really give me a guilt trip; they didn’t knock me down every time I read them or thought about them. It was more like a heavy burden that followed me everywhere I went. Because I’ve been given much. Materially, financially, physically, I am blessed. I’m rich. More than that, God has completely forgiven me of every one of the horrible sins I’ve ever committed in my life. He’s totally restored me to a perfectly righteous relationship with him. By the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, I am eternally wealthy. I’m Bill Gates and Donald Trump combined. With a great haircut and 50 lawyers! And because of his great gifts and his matchless grace, it is demanded of me that I use the abilities and talents and opportunities he gives me, not to talk about the Cowboys and Rangers and Mavs, but to boldly proclaim salvation from God in Christ! It’s required of me to declare his love and mercy that are available to all mankind and his will and his plan to redeem and restore all of creation forever.

After many years of dealing with Luke 12:48 — alternately ignoring it, wrestling with it, praying about it, trying to shake it — I finally got up the faith or the guts (or both) to act on what God was demanding of me. And I will never look back.

The truth is that when my crucified and risen Lord returns, I couldn’t bear the thought of explaining to him the way I used his gifts and grace for all of my adult life: camped out in press boxes and locked up in studios talking about and obsessing about things that don’t matter.

He is coming back. Right? Yes, you know that.