I had to take the initiative, or the consequences would come quickly.
Middle school was a frightening experience. Cliques began to form, peer pressure increased, and girls stopped being icky. But the biggest change was acquiring responsibility. If I was absent, no longer would the teacher remind me about make-up work. If I didn’t schedule make-up work, she would record a zero for the assignment.
The rule was plain: “When a student misses school, it is their responsibility to make arrangements with their teachers to make up assignments. Failure to do so in a reasonable amount of time will result in a zero.” The late penalty or the “I forgot to turn it in” excuse didn’t work either. Thirty points was subtracted if the assignment was one day late. After that, it was a zero.
Some of the middle school rules seemed harsh, but the teachers were trying to teach me a more important lesson: accountability for my actions.
The people Zephaniah preached to were adults who hadn’t learned accountability. Due to their disobedience to God and their failure to repent, their relatives in the north had already been taken captive by a foreign power. Zephaniah’s audience was repeating their actions, so he warned them about their responsibility to God.
As a teacher of middle school students, I attempt to instill in my students the same thing my teachers tried to instill in me: accountability. My actions affect me and normally others as well. If I make bad eating choices, my health will suffer. If my kids make bad homework choices, their grades will do the same. If I make poor relationship choices, I may lose a spouse, job, or position at church.
While there are many earthly sources who I’m accountable to, my ultimate accountability is to God. Whether I like his rules matters not. He’s the Creator and gives the orders. I can obey and hear him say, “Well done good and faithful servant,” or disobey and hear him say, “Depart from me.” The choice is mine. Personally, I’d rather hear the “Well done.”
How is recognizing your accountability to God impacting your life?
Prayer: Father, remind us we are accountable to You for our actions, words, and attitudes.
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