The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and for those of us who have it, the Bible has some pretty scary verses. For me, this part of Luke 12:48 is one of them: “…For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required…” Lately, the verse has been coming to mind more often than usual, and with it that same low hum of anxiety. God has bestowed such great blessings upon my life. What if He required something great in return? What if I’m not good enough, smart enough, strong enough, fill-in-the-blank enough on the day when God comes to collect? But last Sunday, a spilled cup of coffee taught me a lesson that has since calmed every one of my fears.
The Commentaries Agree
If you look up Luke 12:48 in the commentaries, they all pretty much agree. The verse is about being a good steward with the things God has given us. One of them even likened it to the line from the Spiderman movie. “With great power comes great responsibility.” It’s the idea that we are responsible for using our time, money, and talents not just for ourselves but for the good of God’s kingdom. But I honestly never thought about the verse in those terms. Oh, I agree with the sentiment. I know that God has given me everything I have and made me everything I am. I must spend my resources not just for my own pleasure but for things that benefit others and advance the will of God. There is nothing scary about any of that.
The scary part for me came with the idea that there would be some sort of day of reckoning. That at some future time there would be a Thing that would be asked of me. Like a Daniel Moment or an Esther Moment or a Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego Moment. That all my blessings and benefits were somehow on one side of the ledger, and one day God would come to even things up. It seems silly when I type it out, but there it is.
A Cup of Coffee and a Lesson
Then last Sunday I spilled my coffee. I had just pulled it out of the microwave and set it on the counter. When I went to close the microwave door, the cup turned over, coffee spilling everywhere. It was under the microwave, under the toaster, and moving fast toward the edge of the counter in a few different places. I was rushing to grab a towel to start catching the liquid when I noticed it. I was completely at peace. There was no anger, frustration, or upset. I had none of the feelings that I would normally associate with a situation in which I had a big mess on my hands and no coffee to go with my breakfast. Seriously, it was a supernatural peace.
Later after the mess was cleaned and new coffee made and consumed, I went to finish getting ready for church. I have some of my best talks with God when I’m praying as I get ready for my day, and this day I felt there was a definite message for me that I am to share with you now.
God’s Message About What Is Required
The conversation started with the verse coming to my mind yet again. “…For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required…” Then an analogy popped in. I had the thought that nobody would expect a two year old to do calculus on threat of punishment. Calculus would only be expected of one who has been through a class, the Teacher sitting patiently, teaching line upon line and precept upon precept. If you have been through the teaching, the testing, and the reteaching, you would be expected and required to know the material.
But even those who complete the class still might not be able to get every problem right. There are differences in ability and temperament, and calculus is very complicated. Then I remembered the coffee and my other-worldly reaction to the spill. While my human ability to remain calm may have been lacking, God was able to supernaturally provide the perfect temperament at just the right moment.
When Much Will Be Required
We are definitely at the end of time. The future seems uncertain and there are so few things that are the way they have always been. Christian persecution around the world seems to spreading like so much spilled coffee. There may, in fact, be a day in which Christians are called to a Moment of their own. But if and when that day does arrive and God requires us to put our faith into practice and all the lessons we have learned us into action, we don’t have to fear. He will have taught us everything we need to pass any test with flying colors. And, anything our character or ability still might be lacking, He will provide at just the right time.
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