Sunday, November 15, 2009

Much expected

To whom much is given, much is expected” (Luke 12:48)

Jesus said that, but when I was in high school, my father repeated this phrase to me often. He was fond of reminding me of this phrase whenever I was a little too proud of something—maybe a good test score, a good report card, or playing a good basketball game. I can almost hear him say, as he did many times, “Consider your talents a gift from God, but be sure to use those talents for the sake of others.”

I was watching the Titans play Buffalo yesterday. Buffalo recently signed Terrell Owens as a free agent receiver. “T.O” is regarded as one of the most talented receivers in the game, a physical freak of nature at 6’ 3’’, 225 pounds who can run a 4.35 forty. But he also has a reputation of being a prima donna, concerned more about himself than the welfare of the team. Sure enough, yesterday, when things began to unravel and the Titans began to take control of the game, T.O. began yelling at his teammates and coaches on the sideline. No one questions his prodigious talent. But there are few NFL teams that want Owens on their roster, because he tears down team morale and draws unnecessary attention to himself. In other words, Owens has been given much, but he’s using his gift selfishly.

You, too, have been given much. Most of you come from solid families and they sacrifice to send you here. The education you receive here will catapult you forward in your life. Most of your peers growing up in Nashville don’t have the opportunities you have today, nor will have these opportunities in the future, whether that’s to attend a prestigious college or land a lucrative job one day. Compared to others you live a privileged life.

How will you return this gift to the Lord? Will you use the advantages you’ve been given only for yourself, or will you parlay them into a life makes a positive difference in this world for others?

And in the here and now, in your life around this school, this building, the hallways, our cafeteria, will you be grateful for what you’ve received? Gratitude can be shown in small, practical ways, like an out of the way kind comment to a teacher or classmate, like keeping our hallways and cafeteria clean from trash, like taking an unpopular position with your peers because it’s the right one to take, by simply being a good listener to someone who needs to talk.

God wants us to be happy. The best way to be happy is to use the natural talents God has given us to the best of our ability. But that alone isn’t enough. We must use those talents to serve others, not ourselves.

Students at JPII, you have been given much. Rejoice and be grateful for your talents. Return those talents back to him in service to others and you will indeed live happy and fulfilling lives.

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