to whom much is given, much is required

the more talents, possessions, opportunities, etc., a person has, the more responsibility she has to use them for the good of others
—I told my son that he could not ignore his talent as a pianist. He has a responsibility to play for other’s enjoyment. I believe that to whom much is given, much is required.

Jesus wanted his followers to be ready for the time when he would come back as king of heaven and earth, so he told them they should be like servants who are obedient even when their master is away. Jesus described two servants who were disobedient and were not ready when the master returned: Both did wrong, but because the first one knew what the master wanted, he was beaten severely. The second, though, didn’t know the master’s will, and while he was also punished, his beating was less severe. Jesus said,

From everyone who has been given much, much will be required [unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required], and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked. (Luke 12:48)

There are many variations of the first half of this verse used in modern English. Probably the most famous usage is from John F. Kennedy, who, in 1961, said, “For of those to whom much is given, much is required.” While the form “to whom much is given, much is required” may sound right and is commonly used, leaving out of those actually makes the phrase grammatically incorrect.

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