Friday, December 30, 2022

Reaching for Responsibility - Martin Wiles

reaching for responsibility
The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 1 Corinthians 3:8 NLT

“Were you born in a barn?”

I suppose I heard the question the most from my mom and her mom. Like all children, I often came into the house in a hurry. Perhaps I played a game and needed something from the house. Flying in, I would leave the door open, thinking there was no point in closing it when I was going right back out. Or maybe, I needed to use the bathroom quickly. My excuses or reasons for leaving the door open didn’t matter. Mom hollered the question.  

Mom’s mom parroted her. She lived in an old farmhouse in the country with no central air or heat. The windows were raised in the summer, and the wooden door stood open so what cool air existed could flow through the screen door. The problem at her house was flies, which accumulated in large numbers due to two nearby chicken farms. Since the house had no central heating, leaving a door open in the winter created a different problem. An open door brought the question from her lips whether it was winter or summer.

In my young mind, the question concerned responsibility. At my age, I didn’t understand the costs of electricity, but I knew enough to realize that closing a door was something I should think about. I guess the lesson stuck because I later used the question with my children, grandchildren, and students. While leaving the door open to my classroom didn’t let hot or cold air in, my students needed to learn a lesson about responsibility that would carry over into other areas of life.

Paul took the matter of responsibility to yet another level: a spiritual one. God’s children are responsible for sharing God’s love with others. Some plant the story’s seed in another person’s life for the first time. Others water the seed by reinforcing the story with life examples and actions. Whether we water or plant, God holds us responsible.

Responsibility is taught and caught. We teach it in various ways to our children, grandchildren, friends, co-workers, and casual acquaintances. We also catch it by looking at the example of others who do a better job than we do. Once we listen and heed the lessons, we can lead others to do the same.

As a Christ-follower, we are responsible to obey God’s commands, to love God with all our hearts and others as ourselves, to serve God with the gifts He’s given us, and to be an example to other people. When we do, we have attained responsibility and closed the barn door.

In what areas could you be more responsible?

Prayer: Father, may we be responsible for those things you have given us to do. 

Tweetable: How are you reaching for responsibility? 

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