Jump Start # 2427
Luke 12:48 “But the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging will receive but few. And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”
He carried a name that was found in the Bible. He was actually named after his father and his father was named after his father. Three lines of descendants with the same first name. Not too long ago I stood at his grave. In his day he was a legend and a pioneer among early believers in Southern Indiana. His name appears in many historical books about the early restoration in Indiana. He was among the first to bring pure Christianity to these parts. Generations later, some of his family line still are following the simple N.T. pattern. But sadly, most have never heard of this early preacher. He was fearless in preaching the Gospel of Christ and very instrumental in getting whole congregations to see the need to toss away creeds and man-made rules and simply be Christians.
His name was Absalom, like David’s son in the O.T. Unlike the Biblical rebel prince who tried to steal away the kingdom from his father, this Absalom, my Absalom, tried to build the kingdom of Christ in the hearts of others. Now, 150 years after his death, outside of a handful of historians, the good that he did is pretty much forgotten.
I spent a few minutes looking at his old tombstone. It’s weathered, been knocked down and is leaning against another stone. Everything I’ve read about him says that he was kind in spirit, carried a joyous and happy disposition and was earnest in preaching the pure Gospel of Christ. Great qualities. I wish I could get ahold of one of his sermons, but none have been saved and none have been published. His times were tough. Contemporaries write about panthers, rattle snakes and Indian raids that were a constant danger. Men carried rifles with them everywhere, even to the church house. And, then there was the hard core religious ignorance and stubbornness that he chipped away at in sermon after sermon. These pioneer preachers preached nearly every day of the week. They gave lessons out under a tree. They taught in little log cabin homes. Anywhere there was an audience, they opened God’s word and spoke. Courageous, these early voices of truth, helped pave a spiritual highway that many of us travel down so easily today. We preachers of today do not face near the dangers, the struggles, the hardships that those pioneer preachers did. His work seems forgotten. His name is unknown to most. But to Heaven and to his generation, he made a difference.
And as I looked at that old tombstone, I wondered, if God allows this old world to continue on, if someday some preacher would stand looking at my tombstone and wonder about the work that I have done. And, this brings us to our verse today. A mighty principles set forth by the Lord. To whom much is given, much is required. Only the Lord can make a difference across all generations and for all times. However, you and I must do what we can for this generation. Much has been placed upon our shoulders and we must rise up to the occasion. Too many are so obsessed with themselves that they forget about the mighty work of God that is before us. If we do not do it, who will?
Consider a few thoughts:
Jesus placed the entire future of the kingdom into the hands of those first apostles. They were it. There was no “B-team.” There was no JV’s. If Peter went back to fishing and Matthew back to tax collecting, jobs they knew well and jobs that would not put them in harms way, what would have happened to the kingdom? Instead of going into all the world, suppose they simply went home. To whom much is given, much is required. Those apostles understood their roles. They were not to be worshipped. They were not to be honored. They would want all attention pointing to Jesus. They did what they could do. Aside from the writings of the N.T., most of the work of those apostles is forgotten and unknown. There are stories. There are legends. But in their time, they laid foundations that others built their lives upon.
The kingdom needs you and I to be busy in God’s work. This generation needs us. Our families need us. Our congregations need us. If not us, then who? We need solid churches today that are touching the lives of others. We need churches to be beacons of hope and truth. We need a legacy of leaders who are Biblical, godly and have the heart of servants. We need families that are strong spiritually and are making a difference in the community. Work, schedules, kids, and things of this life pulls us away from what really matters. Time passes and we leave few footprints and we do little good and so little difference is made. When I read about those first pioneer preachers, their work was surrounded by godly men and women who became the backbones of those congregations that were established. It’s those men and women who remained in those congregations as those preachers went out preaching that also made a difference. Lives were changed. A stake for God was planted in those prairie fields, as men and women facing dangers every day, put the kingdom of Christ above all other things.
I can only imagine what those apostles or even those pioneer preachers in young Indiana would have done had they had Facebook, Twitter, videos, emails, and texting at their disposal. Their tools were so primitive, yet they did so much good. To whom much is given, much is required. It’s sad to see so many congregations today sitting on their hands and not using the tools of our times to teach, strengthen and make disciples. We need to be pushing the envelope of technology and find way to get the message out, not just in the neighborhoods around the church building, but around the globe. Today, God’s people need to become global. There are so many powerful ways to help small churches worldwide, without having to fly across the world. We need to lift up our eyes and look upon the fields. You may connect with people who will never visit your congregation, but they are in the kingdom. Your work can help answer questions, provide encouragement and put tools into their hands that can help them in their work. As we near the end of a year and begin thinking about plans for next year, leaders need to consider what we are doing outside the walls of the church building. They need to be asking what are we doing globally? What are we doing beyond sending money to a preacher overseas? Put some thought into that. Put some energy into that. Look at your resources of sermons, class materials and other things that can be of use worldwide.
To whom much is given, much is required. Some day what we have done in our time will be looked at. If not by historians, or brethren, definitely, by the Lord. Have we done all that we could? Have we taken risks to push the borders of the kingdom? Have we made a difference in our times?
Absalom Littell is the name of the pioneer preacher whose grave I stood at. He was a hero among believers. He made a difference. Forgotten today, but not by Heaven. I hope to not only meet him in Heaven, but more than that, I hope that somehow I can make a difference like he has.
To whom much has been given…What has God given you? Talent. Time. Life. Opportunity. Open doors. To whom much is given, much is required. Make a difference by walking with the Lord! Make a difference by stepping up and doing what others are not. Make a difference by taking risks. Make a difference by not being overcome by the dangers of today. Make a difference!