My family consisted of 5 children and two parents when I grew up on the east coast. With that many people living under one roof, there was always some mess to clean up, something broken in need of being fixed or some job to finish. If everyone did their part, things went pretty well.
Problems, however, began to surface when one or more of us would slack off and let others do the lion’s share of the work. Notice I included myself in the equation! We all have a tendency to avoid responsibility rather than accept it.
Paul the Apostle writes a powerful yet very short book in the New Testament called Ephesians. It’s only 6 chapters long and can be divided into two clearly defined sections. Chapters 1-3 focus is all about our relationship with God and how rich we are because of our connection with him. He informs us that from his perspective, we are chosen, forgiven, included, gifted and loved. Then in Chapter 4 there is a noticeable shift.
Just like the shifting of a gear in an automobile, Paul shifts from focusing on our relationship with God to our responsibilities we have been given in lieu of God’s goodness. To those who have received much, much is required.
My dad and mom taught us about responsibility. They convinced us we all play a part in life and we cannot live as spectators without serious consequences. We need to be participants in life not merely observers. You are responsible for your actions and if you blame others for the choices you make, maturity will pass you by. When you avoid rather than accept responsibility, your growth is stunted.
Accepting responsibility means you are willing to become a participant. When you fulfill your responsibilities, others are impacted for the good. You, yourself will benefit as well. My slothfulness in the early years put pressure on my siblings to carry a burden I should have shared. Because I wouldn’t, they suffered to a greater extent needlessly.
That is happening every day in our culture in a variety of ways. We all know that much of our tax dollars go toward helping those who really need assistance. That is a good thing. A whole lot of financial aid, however, is given to those who could be and should be participating in the work ethic. When this happens, we ALL suffer to a greater degree. Simply because some decide they will not do what they can do.
Paul said ‘be’ responsible! We are all blessed to live in the USA. The rich and the poor have something to be thankful for. Both the rich and the poor have a significant role to play. The rich, poor and all those in-between are responsible to do their part. If we all accept the role we have been given, the duties we have been assigned and the job we are called to do, this world will be a better place. Everyone doesn’t need to do everything but everyone needs to do something!
Don’t let others pull your weight. Fulfilling your responsibilities will produce a healthy sense of value and self-esteem in you and lighten the load for others. Hear the words of Paul in Eph 4:15. “As each person does his or her own special work, it helps the other people grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”