With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility:
Have you seen any of the Spiderman movies? Bob Smithouser says, “Spider-Man spins an impressive web of positive themes, including accepting social responsibility, standing up for what’s right, and being single-minded about one’s calling.” (Focus on the Family’s Plugged In). I’m a big fan of superhero movies, and when I saw the Spiderman series, I wasn’t disappointed..
I want to use this modern superhero story to teach an important Biblical principle. For the benefit of those who’ve never seen the movie, allow me to give a little background information. Spiderman is the tale of a teenage boy named Peter Parker, who receives super powers when he is bitten by a radioactive spider. His parents are dead, and he is being raised by his Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Throughout the course of the movie, Peter’s uncle says to him, “These are the years a young man changes into the man he’s going to be for the rest of his life. Just be careful who you change into. With great power comes great responsibility.” Wise advice. However, an interesting thing happens in Peter’s life following these words that forever alters his destiny.
Peter Parker is standing in a building, when a thief runs past him, and the man who was just robbed yells, “Grab him. Hold him.” Peter Parker doesn’t do anything, and the man who was robbed says to him, “What’s with you? All you had to do was hold him, trip him, anything.” Peter says, “I missed the part where that’s my problem.” The guy says, “But – you just stood there and let him get away.” The ironic thing is that this criminal, who Peter let get away, went on to kill Peter’s uncle Ben. Peter’s uncle’s words rang in his ears, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Peter had the ability to stop that criminal, but he didn’t, and because Peter did nothing, his uncle died. As a result of this incident, Peter Parker made a decision to use his super powers for good – to help people.
With great power comes great responsibility. That same theme can be found in the Bible. Jesus Himself said, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:48). What does that mean? For everyone to whom much is given (great power or abilities), from him (or her) much will be required (great responsibility). First Peter 4:10 says, “God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.” The Biblical principle we see being taught here is that of stewardship.
“God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If your gift is to encourage others, do it. If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” (Romans 12:6-8).
Peter Parker had to learn this lesson the hard way – through the death of his uncle. Don’t wait until tragedy strikes before you begin using your God-given gifts and talents. Remember the lesson from today: with great power comes great responsibility. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required. Will you use your abilities for God’s glory?
Pastor Chris Jordan