C.S. Lewis once said, “There is no problem with the Statue of Liberty on the east coast of the USA, just as long as there is also a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast of the USA.” Wouldn’t we all like to share in the advantages available to us and enjoy freedom? It is marvellous to receive, marvellous to be attended to and to enjoy good service. However, it is not always so marvellous to realise that through my life and conduct, I too have a responsibility to live in such a way so as to make the things I take for granted possible in the lives of others.
It is interesting to note that many languages in the world do not have a word for ‘responsibility’. Many cultures (and several religions) do not even include a concept of responsibility (or they have a very poorly developed one).
The concept of responsibility is brought to bear on every believer through the Scriptures: God made us His representatives on earth (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:15; Hebrews 2), and He gave us very specific duties. He has commanded us to do certain tasks, and this implies that we must assume our responsibility.
Assuming responsibility will always cost us. It expects us to give our time, money and labour towards improving the lives of others. It expects us to make time to pray for others and not only for our own needs. It expects us to crucify ourselves and put the interests of others before our own.
How can you recognise a Christian man who takes responsibility?
Let us look at some examples in Scripture:
From within his position in government, Daniel took spiritual responsibility for the situation in his country. He commanded authority and respect because he lived a life of integrity. He took responsibility for the future of the Jewish people through praying for them. A study of the book Daniel clearly shows us that Daniel’s prayers can be summarised in the words of Jesus, “Let Your kingdom come”.
Samuel also took responsibility for the people by saying that he would certainly not sin against the Lord by failing to pray for them (1 Samuel 12:23). Joshua was a man who took responsibility for his family, and he made sure that his whole household served the Lord (Joshua 24:15). Boaz took responsibility for his family and his social commitments by marrying Ruth, thereby obeying God’s command for kinsman redemption (Ruth 3:13).
- A man who takes responsibility is someone who provides for and takes care of his family, and who regards them as an important priority.
- God made man responsible for his wife: To love her, care for her, provide guidance, protect her and ensure that she develops into her full potential and entire being.
- God made man responsible to be a father to his children: To provide for them, protect them, give them love and guidance, teach them and discipline them, be available to them and raise them so that they will be ‘godly offspring’ (Malachi2:15; Ephesians 6:4).
- A man who takes responsibility is a man who takes his role as priest in the family seriously, standing before God in prayer for them.
- A man who takes responsibility is a man who stands before God as priest to pray for the needs of the world around him: The poor, the wronged, the victimised, the political situation in the country and salvation of the unsaved.
- A man who takes responsibility is a man with integrity, who puts into practice the principles found in Scripture towards the world and in his life in the world. He is a man who does not tolerate injustice or who acts unjustly.
- A man who takes responsibility is a man who assumes responsibility for his own faults and sins. He confesses his sins and relinquishes the sinful behaviour. He admits to his faults and mistakes and makes amends. He asks for forgiveness for his wrongdoings and forgives others when they have wronged him.
- A man who takes responsibility is a man who makes time to listen to the voice of God so that he may hear what God expects from him; and when he has heard, he goes out and does God’s will.
- A man who takes responsibility is someone who speaks out and acts when the rights of the poor, the orphaned and the marginalised are denied.
A man who takes spiritual responsibility is a man who is not impressed by human honours and recognition; he does not seek the approval and praise of the world. He sees himself as less than the least of God’s people and the greatest of all sinners (Ephesians 3:8; 1 Timothy 1:15-16). He is a man for whom the praises of people, titles, positions, learning and popularity mean far less than God’s commandment to do the work of God in His power.