The last few years have solidified my appreciation for personal responsibility and the willingness to do the right thing even if it means that you might in some way suffer emotionally, financially, or even physically — on rare occasions. Not that I’m a pillar of responsibility myself at all times, but I like to think that I am responsible for the most part. But, the reason this subject keeps springing up in my spirit might be an indication that it’s something God wants to work on, so I thought I’d bring you along for the ride!
He who is faithful in a very little [thing] is faithful also in much, and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little [thing] is dishonest and unjust also in much. Luke 16:10
This scripture is full of meaning because it covers so many of us today. We think we can be faithful to the Lord if we could only get our hands on the latest Power Ball winnings, or a doctorate in our chosen field, or a face lift, or successfully complete a weight loss program, or any number of other endeavors. We’d give and give to charity after charity. Why, we’ll do all the things we’ve wished and hoped we could do someday, but never did because we weren’t rich enough, pretty enough, strong enough, smart enough, talented enough….. But, when it comes right down to the nitty gritty of it, if we really did have all that stuff, we still wouldn’t give any of that money, time, talent, or giftings away like we thought we wanted to do. Why? Because, underneath all of our grandiose ideas, we are selfish, self-centered, irresponsible. And, you could probably throw in having a little greed, pride, and fear of lack for good measure.
On the other hand, those of us who really “get it”, are already out there giving what we have, even though it isn’t much (at least not in our eyes), and are making a difference, if only in one person’s life at a time.
Years ago, I met two men. One I’ll call “A” and one I’ll call “B”. “A” fancied himself to be a music minister, Christian musician. He had written a number of pretty good songs about the Lord, had a band, played a few gigs. Very nice voice and talented enough to warrant going further in the music industry, in my opinion. He enjoyed the “fame” that came with the life style, I guess you could say. He managed to record a few songs but never could get off the ground with his career. He only wanted to play his own songs and never enjoyed singing “church songs”. He did very few, if any, private outreach types of things like sing to people in nursing homes, etc. on his own time. When I think back on him stating he had a music ministry, I thought that odd, in light of what real ministry is all about. I’m surmising here, but I often wondered if he thought that sharing his talent with old folks wouldn’t do much to advance his career and therefore, wasn’t worth doing.
“B” on the other hand, also a talented musician, wrote lots of songs, had some recorded, was a worship leader in his church and shared his talent with others quite willingly and fairly often, in nursing homes and other venues as he could find to sing. He loved to sing and play the old songs and the new from any artist, not just his own. Although his musical career has not advanced as he had originally hoped, he has definitely advanced the Gospel of Christ in the lives of many and by serving, even though his personal dreams might not have come to fruition yet, he has made a clear statement that only sharing Jesus matters. Not knowing his personal motivations of course, I suspect that responding in such a way was much more of a music ministry.
As a result of their chosen attitudes towards the life and talents that God had given them, “A” currently lives a very bitter existence, blaming everyone else for his lot in life. “B” continues to serve in his church and the Lord and is pursuing other areas of interest as he trusts God to lead him.
In watching these two men and their differing examples of living life through the years, the idea of personal responsibility has really become much more of a focus for me. It is very true, as the previous scripture verse tells us, that if we are not faithful, responsible, honest, with the very little things, like paying our bills on time, not running red lights, obeying the laws of the land, telling the truth about why we are calling in sick to work, taking care of our homes, being kind to others in whatever way they need kindness displayed, especially to our wives, husbands and children, going the extra mile when it means sacrificing something we think we can’t live without, then we will never be responsible to take care of the bigger things in life that we long so desperately for, no matter how much we might think we would be able to. And, for many, those bigger things in life aren’t given to us, because God knows we wouldn’t be able to handle them in our current condition. Our walk with Him would suffer, our families would suffer, and it might destroy us in the long run.
So, perhaps it’s time to take our personal responsibility “temperature”. Is our behavior pleasing to the Lord? Are there things we should be doing to become more responsible and mature? Are there people in our lives that we’ve hurt by our lack of responsibility that we need to “man up” and admit our failures and ask for their forgiveness? Our spouse, our children, our ex-spouses (ooooh…that one hurts!), our friends, co-workers, the guy at Starbuck’s, or the gas station attendant? How about the Lord Himself? How have we failed Him? Have you asked for His forgiveness and cleansing to make you clean in this area of your life?
There is so much blame out there and truly the blame stops with you and me. We are given a free will by the Lord and He watches to see what we do with it. Perhaps it’s time to stop blaming others for our mistakes, our failures, the breaks we didn’t get. Let’s stop trying to run our lives alone and trust the One who is able to bring His promises to pass, in His perfect time. We can have confidence in Him! It’s time to take responsibility for our behavior, thoughts, and words. We’ll be abundantly blessed when we do. I’m willing to try…how about you?