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Sermon #97: Are You a Responsible Person?

Today I am going to deal with a very important topic.

I am going to focus on the need for each one of us to act responsibly and I am glad that you've spared some time to read this sermon.

I believe that people were created to be responsible citizens. I am convinced that God never intended that people would act irresponsibly. God is a God of integrity, He's a God of excellence, and nobody could grow into a mature child of God if they continue to act irresponsibly.

When I look around today I see that I have been a victim of irresponsibility, in some way. There are several areas of my life that have been negatively affected by somebody else's irresponsibility, and the same surely applies to you. Just look around you and see for yourself!

But now is the chance for us to rectify things!

When I realised that a number of people were acting irresponsibly, even some who are supposed to be esteemed people in society, I decided to recheck my definition of the word “responsible” because I had begun to think that I could be using a wrong definition.

I said to myself, “If these people, who are supposed to know better, knew the meaning of the word ‘responsible’, they would not be acting in this manner.” 

English is a second language to me; I therefore need to rely on the dictionary a lot. I suppose that even those who are really English do consult the dictionary from time to time.

So I consulted my only dictionary, The Random House College Dictionary. The dictionary defines the word ‘responsible’ as follows: answerable or accountable, as for something within one’s power or control. Having a capacity for moral decisions and therefore accountable.

Read the definition again. After you do, you should take a minute of silence to consider the question which says: “Am I a responsible person?” Be honest. Are you accountable for the things within your power and control? Do you always make use of your capacity for moral decisions? 

I now request you to pause reading for while. During this break, write down just three occasions in which you acted irresponsibly. If many of them come to mind, write down all of them.

After you are done take some time to look at your list. What picture do you see? What were the consequences of your irresponsibility either to you or the next person? Looking back, don't you wish you had acted (more) responsibly?  

You need to keep in mind that the picture that you see is the same picture that the world sees in you. 

I have come to believe that most, if not all, of the problems that every person faces today arise out of either their own irresponsibility or that of somebody else. I think that the world would be a far better place today if everybody had acted responsibly in the past. Similarly, our children and grandchildren will only live a great life if we act responsibly in the now. Think about it.

The call to act responsibly is getting louder and more frequent by the day, and as you read this sermon, you must find it in your heart to heed the call. It's an urgent call. Now is the day that all hearts should burn for what is noble, transparent, constructive, right, morally correct.

You and I have several areas that are within our power and control. In each of these areas we need to ensure that we conduct ourselves with integrity; we should demonstrate a strong sense of responsibility.

We shouldn't have anything to hide. Instead, we should be in a position to explain all our actions or omissions without stuttering. As you read this sermon, you can be sure that there are lots of people who are busy hiding information on the actions that they have taken, simply because such actions cannot stand scrutiny! Any action that cannot stand scrutiny borders on selfishness, hence irresponsibility.

Let me quote from the Bible.

Paul gave Timothy the following instruction: "Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care" (1 Timothy 6:20). Paul was teaching Timothy to be accountable for his actions - to make maximum use of the capacity given him to make moral decisions. Timothy heeded the instruction and went on to become a great leader in the service of the Lord.

What is it that has been entrusted to your care?

There surely is at least one thing that you act guardian over. I have; you have. What are you doing with or about it? Are you guarding it; are you plundering it; are you acting irresponsibly towards it?

If you are a pastor, you have the congregation in your care. If you are a teacher, you have the students in your care. If you are a parent, you have the family in your care. If you are a health professional, the patients have been placed in your care. If you are a driver, the passengers are in your care. If you are a city father, the city has been entrusted to your care. If you are an employer, your employees are under your care. If you are a ruler, the nation has been placed in your care.

I think that you now appreciate why I think that most of our problems arise from the irresponsibility. 

So many people have died on the roads simply because the driver acted irresponsibly and even ignored rebuke by the passengers. Road accidents are sometimes caused by motorists speeding through red robots, pedestrian crossings or junctions at which they must give way to other traffic.

Drunken driving is also a major contributor to road accidents.

One day I overheard two men engaged in a conversation. They were laughing and I thought that they were talking about something really exciting. One of them said, “My friend, I still am at a loss how on this earth I managed to drive home yesterday evening. I was so drunk that I could not get out of the car after parking it. My wife and children had to pull me out of the car and carry me into the house.”

What do you make of this? Sounds familiar?

I also know of a number of cases in which teachers were either sacked or imprisoned for sexually abusing students in their care and children who have taken to the streets because parents failed to take proper care of them.

These are just examples. The cases of irresponsibility are too numerous to mention.

If we fail to act responsibly in the here and now, then we certainly do a great disservice to future generations. 

With our actions or omissions, we shape the future. Let us not underestimate the power that we wield in determining the kind of future our children will possess. They look at us, they witness our actions and omissions, they listen to us speaking and sometimes they judge us.

How beautiful it would be for us to be guided by noble principles! How marvelous it would be to be real role models in society! How pleasing it would be for the future generations to look back and conclude that their elders taught and raised them up right!

We need to preserve the environment so that we bequeath it to our children in a condition that they would enjoy.

We need to build our economies and the social sectors to a condition that is better than we found them, if our children are to see us as builders, not demolishers.

We need to leave a legacy of honesty, love, work and peace.

It is within our power. It is within our means. Yes, we can. I believe that we have sufficient willingness to do so. So let us work together. Let us be of service to the human race. Let us think progress.

Above all, let us strive to act responsibly, always.

Are you guarding that which has been entrusted to your care?

Do you have a clear conscience regarding how you have conducted yourself in the past? Can you stand with your chin up and shoulders high, without shame? Would God and man describe you as noble, responsible? Would they take you to be a person of integrity? If that is not the case, then you've some serious work to do, and NOW is the time!

Guard whatever is entrusted to your care. Act responsibly. What a powerful instruction!

FOR GOD’S SAKE, WHY WON'T YOU GROW INTO A (MORE) RESPONSIBLE PERSON?

God bless!