<>< In the 12th Chapter of the Gospel of Luke, as Jesus is laying down some pretty specific teachings about the challenges of living a life according to His Way, He reminds us all of this eternal and universal principle: 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.”   <>< When we hear Jesus pronounce this as His truth, we are compelled to stop and reflect on our own life. It’s safe to say that most of us are indeed blessed in our lifestyle – with the means and resources we have to live safely and comfortably. And while tragedy and disappointment continue to plague our lives as it does all lives, some of us have a much easier path to walk on a daily basis.  And because of that, we certainly can be counted among the ones that Jesus was directing his comments to in this scripture verse. Even though we always want more … it’s obvious that we have more than enough. Indeed, much has been given to us. And likewise, we have much that we are responsible for. God has entrusted us with many precious possessions and relations in our lives. So, Jesus tells us that even more will be demanded of us.  So, here’s the bottom line of this teaching: God is requiring more from us and demanding more from us. The question then becomes, are you up for it?  The problem with those of us who live in a relative position of abundance is that we become blinded by our attachments and possessions. Our vision grows more and more limited, until finally all we can see is our self and our things.  But recognizing this as our primary hurdle to living in the freedom that Jesus is offering to us is the first step to moving beyond our limited vision and acquiring the sight to see the reality of our situation.  There are 2 conditions that must be rectified if we are ever to emerge from our self-absorbed life: 

  • The vision to see beyond ourselves, and
  • The vision to see beyond this world.

If the message of Jesus could be summed up in 2 challenges, these would be the challenges.  First Jesus calls us over and over again to learn to see beyond ourselves. He teaches all kinds of people in all kinds of situations one consistent truth – the “other” is always more important to you, and you are here to serve them.  Of course, the world we live in teaches us the exact opposite message. Every day we are taught that it is all about us, that the world revolves around our values and priorities (or at least it should!), and that we deserve to “have it our way.” Instead, Jesus asks us to reject that self-centered way of life and embrace His “Way” in which we love God with all our being and we love our neighbor as ourselves. That’s the first step. Then Jesus calls us to extend our vision even further. Just when we gain the sight to see beyond ourselves, He asks us to see beyond this world. It’s not all about this world! Jesus tells us that a new world has come – one He calls the Kingdom of God. It is for this world that His followers are now asked to live for … and in.  Again, over and over, Jesus urges us to disdain the ways and things of this life and attach ourselves to the things that our eternal. He teaches us to pray that God’s Kingdom will come, and that God’s will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  In effect, Jesus is saying that everything we have and all those we love should be dedicated to God in heaven and our Kingdom life ono earth. If we can do that, then the Kingdom begins to take shape in our lives, and we can see God in all the things around us. That is the second step.  If you’re looking for 2 serious but necessary spiritual principles to adopt in your faith life, try this: Fall on your knees and ask God to give you the vision to clearly and consistently see beyond yourself – and to then give you the vision to clearly and consistently see beyond this world.  If you pray this prayer in the name of Jesus, and you pray it sincerely on a regular basis, then God will begin to work in new ways in your life and give you the vision that you ask for – which is the vision Jesus had and the vision he tells us we need in order to be truly free.  To those who are much blessed … let us share a new vision that extends beyond us … and this world … so that we can see God in everybody and everything around us. On that day, we will all proclaim together: Welcome to the Kingdom, sisters and brothers!  All for the glory of God <>< Pastor Bob <><