Allow me to paint a picture for you.
Charlemagne, the greatest Christian Ruler of the Middle Ages, has passed from this life. The funeral procession has begun…
When the royal casket arrived, with a lot of pomp and circumstance, it was met by the local bishop, who barred the cathedral door.
"Who comes?" the bishop asked, as was the custom.
"Charlemagne, Lord and King of the Holy Roman Empire", proclaimed the Emperor’s proud herald.
"Him I know not," the bishop replied. "Who comes?"
The herald, a bit shaken, replied, "Charles the Great, a good and honest man of the earth."
"Him, I know not," the bishop said again. "Who comes?"
The herald answered in desperation, "Charles, a lowly sinner, who begs the gift of Christ."
To which the bishop responded, "Enter!"*
While I cannot vouch for the veracity of this story, the message is clear: The proud will be turned away, and the humble will be accepted. While our Earthly achievements may wow the crowds of the Earth, they do not impress God, because he is the one who gave them to us. Jesus reminded Pilot of this during his trial when he said, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above".
What does matter matter to God is how we have used our blessings. Those of us who were given much have a great responsibility to acknowledge the Giver, and then to use our gifts to glorify Him and accomplish His will. In the Book of Wisdom, Kings are admonished for forgetting whence their power came and using it for their own gain, at the disadvantage of the lowly. Contrary to what we expect in this life, God will not stand in awe of any one, and will only judge the privileged of this life more harshly.
And now you might be thinking how lucky you are not to have all the responsibility of the “privileged”! Think again.
Lest we think that we are not among those who have received much, Jesus uses lepers to make the same point. The lepers, in comparison to great kings, were given little. While kings get wealth and power, the lepers got to be disease-free. But this “little” gift was nonetheless from God, and instead of glorifying Him for that, they quickly moved on, without ever looking back.
We are each given unique gifts. Some may be flashier than others, but we all have many blessings from God. Maybe you have a great voice, are excellent at sports, possess a superior intelligence, or are great with people. Maybe you have a lot of money, or a beautiful family, or great health. Maybe you have a roof over your head, or food to eat, or air to breath... Everything is a gift from God, no matter how seemingly small.
Dear Jesus, thank you for all the many good things you have given me! Show me how to use the gifts you have given me to accomplish your will.
*Gondal, Alexa. Come as You Are: Sermons on the Lord’s Supper. CSS Publishing Company, 2000. Pg 24