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. Luke 12:48
This gospel passage has two layers of meaning. One layer is a prediction about the Messiah’s return to the earth, what the church has called “the second coming of Jesus Christ.” A second layer is about our accountability to God for the life entrusted to us… which presumes several things:
For one, that we’ve been given life. We did not create ourselves. We didn’t wake up some morning on a far-off planet and determine it was time to be born into this world, on a certain date, in a certain locale, with a certain look, with certain gifts and needs, to certain parents, who would raise us in a certain way. Not so. We were simply born into a particular setting. And those first half-dozen or so years – before we had much power or could exercise much control at all in our own lives – we were very significantly formed (or maybe deformed) by those circumstances into which we were born… and which we did not choose.
Another presumption about the life entrusted to us is how unremarkable we are. Whether we are a prince or a pauper or something in between, we must eat and drink and sleep; we have the capacity to hope and dream; we have muscles, and a memory, and a will. From a physiological standpoint, our genetic makeup is almost identical, one person to the next. And, at the end of the day, all of us die.
But then, in quite small but extremely significant ways, we are remarkably different from one another: our gender, the shape of our nose, our desires and abilities and capacities, given all that has been handed to us, and how we have taken up the reins. And it’s in these subtle uniquenesses about our own life, where we must give an ultimate account to God for what we have made of our life.
The energy in Jesus’ teaching is about our being prepared: being prepared to die but, in the meantime and more importantly, being prepared to live. Living our lives fully, freely, generously, fearlessly, responsibly, respectfully, unapologetically, thankfully, joyfully the mysteriously, fabulously-amazing life entrusted to us. Entrusted to us a day-at-a-time, one step-at-a-time, one breath-at-a-time. You don’t want to miss a moment of it – your life – because life is so precious and it’s so fleeting.
The story is told of Rabbi Zusya, an 18th century Polish rabbi, much revered for his wisdom.
One day he stood before his congregation and he said, “When I die and have to present myself before the celestial tribunal, they will not ask me, ‘Zusya, why were you not Moses?’ because I would say, ‘Moses was a prophet and I am not.’
They would not say, ‘Zusya, why were you not Jeremiah?’ for I would say, ‘Jeremiah was a writer, and I am not.’
And they would not say, ‘Why were you not Rabbi Akiba,’ for I would tell them, ‘Rabbi Akiba was a great teacher and scholar and I am not.’
But then they will say, ‘Zusya, why were you not Zusya?’ and to this I will have no answer.’
Become who you were created to be, by God’s grace. And then be who you are, by God’s grace. Be fully alive. Live the mysteriously, fabulously-amazing life you’ve been given. Amazing!
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