“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48
When Bill Gates and Warren Buffet challenged their fellow multi-billionaires to give away a significant portion of their wealth as they had committed to do, it would be presumptuous to assume they had been directly influenced by the above passage. It would also be presumptuous to assume they were not. The fact of the matter is I don’t know what if anything in particular influenced their philanthropy except that they seem to understand that along with their extreme good fortune comes extreme responsibility. Other than that I am hesitant to speculate much about the motives of these two gentlemen since I do not know either one personally, nor do I know much about their personal values or beliefs.
Regardless of their motives, though, it is encouraging what these men did making a public statement about their wealth that ultimately says it is not theirs to keep but to give away – and to give away for the benefit of the greater good. At an even deeper level their message is all but an admission that their wealth had never been theirs to begin with, but a gift, their extreme philanthropy being a public recognition of that.
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded . . .” is not a message intended for just the mega-wealthy, though. It applies to all of us; for we have all been blessed in some way with more than enough. And just as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet seemed to have recognized it is not for us to keep but to give away. Some have been blessed with financial wealth, some have physical strength and energy, others have wisdom, and most of us at the very least have the ability to offer a smile or an encouraging word. Whatever our gifts, talents, or resources might be, they have been entrusted to us not just for ourselves but for the greater good. What a privilege to be called to offer our abundance for such a greater purpose!