Posted by January 2, 2013on
Winston Churchill said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.” What are the responsibilities of a Christian man? How can we grow in them?
Most of us understand that at some point we have to assume some form of responsibility in life. But what is responsibility anyway?
The Oxford Universal Dictionary defines it this way: “A charge, trust or duty, for which one is responsible.”
That’s what I thought. Meaning we have to do something—like a duty for which we are responsible.
Okay, so how does the dictionary define “responsible”?
- “Answerable, accountable to another for something.”
- “Liable to be called to account.”
- “Capable of fulfilling an obligation or trust.”
- “Reliable, trustworthy; of good credit and repute.”
Responsibility is not always easy! Anybody can be responsible for something that is running well, but it takes guts to accept responsibility for a project out of control!
“The internationally renowned German-American psychologist Erich Fromm puts it this way: ‘In our day, responsibility often indicates an obligation which someone from outside forces upon others. However, responsibility in the true sense of the word is a completely voluntary action, and it is my reaction to the expressed or unexpressed requirements of another’” (Radio Rippel, March 12, 2012).
So it embraces respect and outgoing concern for the needs of others.
Other famous people have also had comments to make about responsibility. Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can’t escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
American Daniel Webster said, “The most important thought I ever had was that of my individual responsibility to God.”
That thought brings me to the thing that most people miss completely about responsibility: We cannot do it all on our own.
We may be responsible to someone, yes, but we are also responsible to God. We must seek His help to discharge whatever obligations we have taken on. God knows exactly what we are doing and why we are doing it—and He is longing for us to get close to Him and ask for His help!
You see, we have free moral agency, meaning that God will not force us to do anything or foist anything upon us. But He is our Creator and is the ultimate source of all our strength and abilities! How amazing it is to have a resource like that waiting in the wings for us to call on Him!
Jesus said in Matthew 18:3 that we must “become as little children.” As a little child is humble and trusts his father and relies on him completely for everything, we should trust our ultimate Father completely!
Indeed, who is it who takes ultimate responsibility for your life? God does! The Bible exhorts us over and over to trust the Lord, “for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). The psalmist David says:
- “Put your trust in the LORD” (Psalm 4:5).
- “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You” (Psalm 56:3).
- “He is my refuge and my fortress” (Psalm 91:2).
We trust that God will guide us in life to be ready to take responsibility for the well-being of many people when we become kings and priests at Christ’s return (Revelation 5:10). Jesus Himself put the meaning of that responsibility in a nutshell in Luke 22:26: “He who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.” He was on earth as “He that serves” (Luke 22:27).
With responsibility comes accountability! In 1 Peter 4:5 we read, “They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” Romans 14:12 tells us, “Each of us shall give account of himself to God” in the way we have handled the training He has given us.
In 2 Peter 3:14 Peter expands on this: “Be diligent to be found by Him [at His coming] in peace, without spot and blameless.” This means we should try hard to live without sinning and be at peace with everyone, so that He will be pleased with us when He returns.
Paul agrees: “May your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
What responsibility we will have! Yes, it is our ultimate responsibility.
Turn to God and He will help
Each one of us has a tremendous responsibility to turn to God, obey Him and repent of our sins. Mark 1:15 tells us, “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” In Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 we read, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment.”
None of us has perfectly obeyed God. However, what God expects of each one of us is that we never give up trying! Always remember: If we do what we can, God will do what we can’t.
“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
Many of our responsibilities arise in the area of relationships, including communication, marriage, parenting, finances and health. Find more about these areas in the “Relationships” section of Life, Hope & Truth.
Larry Murray has been involved with computers most of his life, mostly large turnkey systems. He studied in Europe with students from all over the world, developing friendships that have lasted until today. He lives with his wife Alet in Pretoria, South Africa.