[forthright] Responsibility

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2009 06:05:48 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
http://www.forthright.net 
Straight to the Cross

Build up your faith through the experience of a
sufferer. 'In Search of Perfection: Studies from Job.'
http://forthrightpress.com/#InSearchOfPerfection


COLUMN: FIELD NOTES

Responsibility
 by Michael E. Brooks

"On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of
Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both
Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding"
(John 2:1-2 NKJV)

On one trip into the mountains of Nepal I was invited
to attend and conduct the wedding of two young Tamang
Christians. The local preachers wanted to witness a
"Christian" wedding, since none of them had previously
done so. I agreed so that I could teach and also be of
assistance to the young couple and their families.

The wedding activities forced some adjustments in my
schedule of meetings and preaching, and somewhat
affected our work. I felt put upon in that regard,
perhaps even manipulated, though I was willing to make
the changes because I felt good would result.
Nevertheless I was in the situation that my own plans
and work had to be subjugated to someone else's agenda.
That is not always a good feeling.

When I read the story of Jesus' first miracle in John
2, I get the impression that he may have felt a little
like I did. As the story progresses, the wedding feast
runs out of wine. Jesus' mother, Mary, asks him to fix
the problem. Jesus says, "Woman, what does your concern
have to do with me? My hour has not yet come" (John
2:4). In other words, "Why is that my responsibility? I
am not on earth to cater feasts."

Regardless, however, he went on to solve the problem,
absorbing that task as an opportunity to further his
own work. By looking at his example we too can learn
how to respond to responsibilities wished on us by
others. I suggest these key points.

First, let us always do what we should. There are some
tasks God assigns us which we cannot neglect. The world
will always try to distract us from these essentials.
Some writers call this "the tyranny of the urgent," and
they distinguish that from what is truly important.
Urgent things, which clutter our daily schedules, are
often of little real value. They just demand immediate
attention. Important things have a real bearing on
one's success.

One of my major struggles over years of ministry has
been to learn that even though a particular activity
may be a good thing, that does not justify my using it
as an excuse to shun doing something of greater
importance. Often the thing which we should do is more
difficult or less enjoyable than other alternatives. We
do the lesser thing, excusing ourselves by the
justification that it too was worthwhile.

Second, let us do what we can. Having assured that our
primary goal is secured, there may be time and energy
remaining by which we may attend to other matters.
Where there is such opportunity, let us act (Galatians
6:10). We must not say, "I have done my job, I don't
have to do anything else."

Jesus was not a caterer, yet he had the ability to help
his mother, and he did. This is addressed in the Sermon
on the Mount as the principle of the extra mile
(Matthew 5:41). God wants us to always be willing to do
more than duty demands.

Finally, we must do the very best we can in all things.
Jesus work was commended by the master of the feast,
because the bridegroom had "kept the good wine until
now" (John 2:10). There are those who refuse to do
their best when working on someone else’s project. "Why
should they get all the credit?"

Jesus gave himself fully in all that he did. Whether it
is our personal ministry, our perceived duty, or extra
work we do for others, let us do our best so that we
may be found "fully pleasing him" in all things
(Colossians 1:10).

Our responsibilities go beyond those tasks we are
personally assigned. They are rather to be identified
as our abilities plus our resources plus our
opportunities. "Therefore, to him who knows to do good
and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).

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