If there is one refrain that we have heard in the last week or so is “thank God”. For whatever reason, we here in Antigua have been blessed. We have been saved from two extremely dangerous storms – Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Jose.
Very often, we can reference a piece of scripture that has significant relevance and meaning to our lives. Antigua & Barbuda is a Christian society and with the passing of devastating Hurricane Irma, many have looked towards their Christian faith to seek answers to a vast number of questions.
Regardless of your faith, we should all heed the wisdom of Luke 12:28 and the Parable of the faithful servant, in which Jesus says, “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.”
The parable has many messages and people will extract their own meanings but in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the meaning of “to whom much is given, from him much will be required” should be clear. Antigua has been blessed with relative comfort and safety while our sister isle has been ravaged by an extremely violent hurricane, that aside from being historic in strength and destruction, has left our Barbudan brothers and sisters without a home and most possessions.
Already the discussions have turned to what to do next with Barbuda, but before we get to that, we need to consider the present and realize that we have been given much and in return we are required to open our hearts and give.
Hindsight is 20/20, and having seen what Hurricane Irma did to Barbuda, we wonder what deal we would have made with the Lord, in advance, to spare us from Irma’s wrath? We are fairly confident that we would have committed to a significant sacrifice to be spared. A sacrifice that we dare say would probably have been multiple times more than what is required to help our Barbudan brothers and sisters today.
If you knew, ahead of time, that you would lose your house, all your possessions and have to relocate with nothing but the wet clothes on your body, what would you have offered to ensure that would not have happened?
What was your answer? What would you have traded to be spared in the way that you have? Have you come to the realization that much has been given to you? So now, ask yourself: what can you do now to help give comfort to those impacted by the storm?
And if you are still not sure, and have not grasped the meaning of ‘to whom much is given, much will be required’, know that it really has nothing to do with wealth and money. Jesus was not speaking to only the wealthy but rather he spoke of everyone. The concept is that we are all responsible for utilizing what we have for the benefit of all around us. If we are blessed with wealth then that gift should be shared, especially in times of need. But wealth also resides in our God-given talents and knowledge. Something as simple as time, is a benefit that can be shared.
It is heartening to see that many of us have a firm understanding of the parable, for we have seen people share what they have with our less-fortunate brothers and sisters from Barbuda. But many hands make light work and we should all find some way to help. Do not think that we can leave the burden of assistance to the government and a minority. We have dodged, not one, but two catastrophic storms and have been blessed with the most precious of all gifts: comfort and safety. The least we can do is share that with Barbudans and welcome them into our little bit of paradise.
As time moves on, we can all meet around the table and decide the future of Barbuda. If there is a silver lining to this cloud, it is that we have become closer. We have removed the “and” from Antigua and Barbuda – it is now AntiguaBarbuda. One nation and one people. Going forward, we must maintain that closeness for the benefit of all.