Jump Start # 2032
Luke 12:48 “but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of flogging will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”
These words follow Jesus’ parable about a grand wedding feast. It starts with, “Be dressed in readiness.” Jesus adds, “You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” Peter wondered if this lesson was for them or everyone. Jesus continues with the thought of being found faithfully doing your duty whenever the Master comes. The one who knew the will of the Master and simply did not do it, will receive many lashes. Then our verse. The one who did not know and did wrong, he too, will receive lashes, but not as many. Jesus doesn’t give a pass on doing wrong. Doing wrong is never excused.
What follows, is what grabs my attention today. The one who has been given much, much will be required. Let’s consider that statement. A college student called the other day. There is a choice, a hard one that must be made. The congregation that is more in line with what she believes the Bible teaches, is small, with no other college students and apparently just existing. The other choice would take her to a large congregation with lots of students and a lot going on. Some of the things that they are doing are not Biblical. Now, the tough choice. Which one? One that lines up closer to what the Bible says but doesn’t seem to have much life or spirit, or one that seems to have the right spirit but lacks in doctrinal conformity? Doctrine or spirit? A dead church that may be right or a live church that may be wrong?
I’m saddened that it has to be this way. This same story is repeated all over the country. Right in doctrine, but doing nothing and dead. No hospitality. Little encouragement. Very little passion. It seems that they are just holding on and maintaining. And is it any wonder that young college students fall away.
Now, to our statement at the end of this passage. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required.
A few thoughts:
First, we may not realize that we have been given much. What a blessed generation that we live in. The access to Biblical truth and powerful ways to grow have never been so easy. Look around us. On our phones, laptops and tablets, we have access to dozens and dozens of Bible translations. It is so easy. We can find passages in lightning speed. We can listen to sermons everyday of the week. There are articles all around us. There are all kinds of daily Bible reading programs. The volume of information, from the fields of science, archaeology and Biblical languages is the best it has ever been. Those hard to pronounce words in the Bible can be mastered by websites that will pronounce the words for you. It is so easy to make material for Bible classes. Live streaming, CD’s and so many tools all around us, make us the generation that ought to have more knowledge than ever before. Think about those saints in Europe during the 11th century. Knowledge was limited. Access to Bibles and means to make literature was expensive. Few homes have what you home today has. Facebook, Twitter, email, allows us to send articles, sermons, quotes, across the world in seconds. A letter would have taken a long, long time for those Christians in the 11th century. They didn’t know about folks on the other side of the world. Not only do we know, but we are in contact with them and can do so much for them.
Do we realize that so much has been given to us? And, we must ask, what are we doing with this? Are we finding ways to do more than ever before? Are we using the tools of technology for the glory of God? Are we finding ways to encourage, teach and help others by these great tools? One would think, but looking at this from afar, that this generation ought to be doing the most and have the greatest faith and knowledge because of all that has been given to us. Is this true?
Second, do we realize that God may be expecting more from us than He did from other generations? Look how long and how expensive it was for Guttenberg to make a Bible. I saw Bibles for sale at the dollar store the other day. A dollar for a Bible. We might be picky and not like the size of the print or the version it was in, but a dollar for a Bible. You can’t get a Happy Meal for a dollar. The modern farmer understands this principle. Sowing the seed comes down to getting the seed into the soil. In Biblical times, a farmer walked through the field scattering or throwing the seed out by hand. The seed flew through the air. Some landed on the hard path. Some among the rocks. Some in weedy places. Some on the good soil. Much of the seed was wasted. But that was farming back then. Today’s farmer could do the same. He’d have some seed come up and he’d have some harvest. But we’ve learned better. Give the farmer a tractor, a planter, better seeds and it is amazing what can be done. He is still putting the seed into the soil, but now, he is not wasting seed. He gets better results and a greater harvest. Has the church today learned that lesson or is the church content to walk through fields, scattering seed by hand. It works, but there are better ways today. Too whom much is given, much is required.
Not every church has the funds, nor the personnel to do much with technology. Not every farmer today can afford a $300,000 tractor that is equipped with computers and GPS. But there are still things that can be done.
What would you recommend to a small congregation?
First, it doesn’t take much to liven up the place. Have folks over in your home. That’s a great start. Get close to one another. Have a singing in your house. Have a Bible study in your house.
Second, have some challenging Bible studies. Do this in the church building and do this during the week in homes. Look at where people are and what they need. What’s the things that are keeping people up at night? Talk about those things. Practical. Helpful. Useful. Realistic. Drop the nets and look deeply into God’s word.
Third, do things a bit differently once in a while. Don’t change God’s word nor His pattern. We can’t and won’t do that. But the methods can. Bring in a guest preacher on a specific topic. Change the number of days he comes. Try some singings. Try visiting nursing homes. Try something that may interest college students. Try working with college students. Try something. Sometimes we have to move the furniture around in the house. Sometimes we paint the walls a different color. It’s amazing what little changes can do. We need to think about that with the teaching and preaching. Give homework. Have a quiz. Get folks thinking and using what they know.
Fourth, have a discussion about these things. Many have not given this much thought. They are drifting along a mighty river and have never thought about how things look to an outsider. Maybe the verse by verse Bible studies need to be parked for a while. Maybe the store bought class books need to be parked for a while. Maybe questions ought to be submitted and that be the basis of a class.
Much is expected from those who have been given much. Do we realize that? We are not living in 11th century Europe and Guttenberg isn’t where we purchase our Bibles from. It’s time for many congregations to catch up to the times we are living in.
Are we doing as much as we can? Could we do things better? Could we do more? Having answered that, we then must ask, why are we not? Could be, those very questions will be asked by God some day.
We have been given much…it’s time to do much!