“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded . . .” – Luke 12:48
As a high school graduation gift back in 1992, our older son received a copy of the Dr. Seuss book Oh, the Places You’ll Go. At that time the book had only been in publication maybe a couple of years, probably one of the final works of Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) who died in 1991. I had never read it until our son received it as a gift, and so intrigued was I by its message that our younger son presented me with my own copy a few weeks later as a Father’s Day gift.
“For out-starting upstarts of all ages, here is a wonderfully wise and blessedly brief graduation speech from the one and only Dr. Seuss,” the book cover describes this masterfully illustrated little poem about life. “In his inimitable, humorous verse and pictures he addresses the Great Balancing Act (life itself, and the ups and downs it presents) while encouraging us to find the success that lies within us.” What a great message for those transitioning into new careers, higher levels of education, or a new season of life. No wonder that each year around this time, graduation season, Oh, the Places You’ll Go still rises back into the ranks of bestsellers. I know I still cherish my copy and read and refer to it frequently.
What parent, grandparent, teacher, or coach does not dream for the child they helped raise, teach, coach, influence or encourage to become successful, however defined? Of course we do. But we do not wish for them success simply for the sake of success. Say, for example, a child has potential to become a great violinist. Who among us would wish for that child to become a great musician only to perform in a vacuum, rather than for others to enjoy and be inspired by?
Jesus says that “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.” Such is the point He was making in the parable of the talents where one servant was entrusted with five talents, another servant with two, and another with one. The servants given the five talents and the two invested wisely and doubled what they had, thus were entrusted with more to manage. But the servant with one kept his in a vacuum, so to speak, and so he lost what little he had. Success for the sake of success sits in a vacuum, until it is shared for the benefit of others. And when it is, “oh, the places you will go!”