About Our Personal Responsibility?
Members of the church of Christ, in the United States during the 21st century, have truly been blessed. However, with each blessing comes great responsibility. “The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:46-48) Accepting personal responsibility for your actions is a big thing to God. Once you know and are willing to accept personal responsibility you need to follow through on your responsibility. Jesus wants us to understand our responsibility both to God and to man.
Responsibility toward Jesus as we journey here: God calls His people from all walks of life. No matter the nature or extent of our past sins, God forgives us when we obey the gospel. To please God, however, we must continue to listen to and follow His instructions concerning what is acceptable behavior. We must live unto God. “For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.” (Luke 20:38) As we live this life responsibility is often seen everywhere. We see (1) responsibility toward government -- “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” (Romans 13:1) (2) Responsibility toward parents -- “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Ephesians 6:1), and (3) responsibility toward elders in the church -- “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)
Responsibility met brings real joy: Fulfilling responsibility is not a burden, but rather a source of joy. “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.” (Romans 14:7) God has blessed you with certain abilities. Happiness comes as you use those abilities for God. This was the case of the men who had received the talents. (Matthew 25) Out of those involved in this lesson which person was filled with joy? “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 21:12) The use of those talents brought “the joy of the Lord.”
Responsibility met is just or fair: Justice relates simply to that which is right. It is only right that we do our part in life. It is right to (1) use your ability to help save others (Mark 16:15-16), (2) use your money to help those in need (Galatians 6:10), (3) Use your influence for the cause of Christ (Matthew 6:13-16), (4) do what you can for Jesus. “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” (John 12:26)
Responsibility leads to accountability: Accountability toward God is seen in the fact of final judgment. “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) All will “stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Romans 14:10) Our deeds, good or bad are open before God. “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13) The Scriptures make it clear that God is not only recording what we say and do, but also that He will judge us according to that, and also according to what we do not say or do that we should have said or done.
We are responsible for many things. Luke-warmness is the result of people failing to fulfill their responsibility and we should all know the consequence of being lukewarm. (Revelation 3:14-22) Let us all become children of God (Galatians 3:26-27) and be ready for every good work. (Titus 3:1)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA