From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48b, NIVFamiliar words, but seeing it in context I realised it didn't mean what I'd always thought it did.
It comes at the end of Jesus telling two stories of servants who are expecting their master's return but don't know quite when he will show up. Whether or not they are found being obedient to their absent master at the moment of his return results in either favours or punishment. Between the two parables he spells out what he's actually talking about:
You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Luke 12:40, NIVThen comes the final section:
The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:47-48, NIVWhilst I baulk at the violence of the master beating the servant, the overall message seems clear: those who know what Jesus requires of them and don't do it will be judged more harshly than those who simply don't know what is required. So this verse actually sheds light on the question ‘what about those who have never heard’ rather than being, as I've always thought, an injunction to the gifted to use their gifts for God.