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Freely given, the much required is life-transforming both personally and politically

One of the quotations from President John Kennedy in the article about Peace Corps returnees has triggered thoughts about a different time and different attitudes: “Of those to whom much is given, much is required.”

Many seem to have forgotten the quote as they consider what to cut from national and state budgets to tame deficits.  It’s clear that the altar of the golden sacred calf of deficit reductions is not just to win the next election but to shut down voices to take over long-term political control.

We have been told repeatedly that “everything is on the table,” However, “everything” does not seem to include tax loopholes and subsidies for extremely profitable companies that pay few or no taxes, and lower tax rates for individuals to whom much has already been given—many of whom share responsibility for creating debts and profiting from them.

The same people who have removed their favored items from the chopping block are firm in saying that they believe in tax cuts for the wealthy, because they don’t believe in redistribution of wealth. 

However, the reality is that the gap between the haves and the have-nots grows wider, as wealth is being redistributed upward as more is being expected of the poor.

In Psalm 50, God points out that God doesn’t need sacrifices for “all that moves in the field is mine.” 

What God does appreciate is thanksgiving.

Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann concludes a study of this psalm with the comment, “We are called to gratitude.”

Wouldn’t it be marvelous if those to whom much has been given were to observe Lent by freely giving in ways that would help our states and country in their present need? 

How about voluntarily creating jobs in the United States?

How about showing gratitude for all the blessings received from the use of the resources of God’s earth by simply protecting the environment without needing government regulations?

How about swearing off risky financial instruments—such as the mortgage securities that instigated the collapse—without government regulations requiring that.

We expect people in the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Teach for America, nonprofits, non-governmental organizations, churches, faiths and aid agencies, to whom little is given, to do much with their little.

 Imagine how much more could be done with much from those to whom much is given.

Those in community to global service through faith and nonprofit organizations consistently report how their lives have been transformed by their experiences of sharing and caring.

Why would those to whom much has been given not want to experience the great transformation that generosity of one’s life, spirit and means allows?

Will we ever really learn the lessons of the story of the rich young ruler?

Nancy Minard - Editorial Team