The world tries to tell you that you are only responsible for yourself, and sometimes that even isn’t something that is taught. But the Bible speaks about an integrity the world does not understand. We have a great responsibility, as well as many responsibilities along the way. If we want to live for Jesus, we must be intentional. If we desire to walk in faithful obedience, we cannot ignore our responsibilities.
In Deuteronomy 22, we read about someone coming upon their neighbor’s wandering sheep or goat. The verse tells us that the person should take it and return it to its owner. This speaks of an expectation that consists of going above and beyond. It might require you to go out of your way. It might require you to spend some extra time to get it done. Part of you may justify just keeping the sheep, clinging to the phrase, “Finders keepers.”
Going the extra mile glorifies God. Not ignoring the opportunity to help bless someone glorifies God. Don’t ignore these opportunities that come your way. Consider this opportunity to be a gift. Go the extra mile and watch what happens.
“If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility. Take it back to its owner.” – Deuteronomy 22:1 [NLT]
I have always tried to be a reliable person, but I’ve failed like everyone does from time to time. We cannot always do what we desire to do in life. The Bible says for our yes to be yes, for our no to be no. This makes things very black and white. This is something that helps us to be a person of integrity. People see our consistency. People trust our reliability. We are a better witness to Christ Jesus when we let our yes be yes, and our no be no. Our word is trusted.
The Bible tells us that when we are given much, much is then required. We have a responsibility. It is not always an easy responsibility, but we can rest in these black and white boundaries. If we are a people who do our best to have our yes mean yes and our no mean no, we are not setting ourselves up for failure. We will be seen as someone with reliability. Our words and deeds will be more likely be trusted. We will glorify the Father more by the consistency in our lives.
Don’t grieve over your past failures. I have said “yes” many times and something came up that shook things up. Take time to respond with wisdom and truth when asked to serve in a new ministry. Will you have the time? Is this where God is leading you? With the responsibility you have been given, understand you will have to say yes to some things, and no to others. There is no allowance for a yes man in ministry. When you zero in and say yes to the things God is leading you to do, you will find that serving is a joy, and there will be fruit from the reliability of your word. Remember it is not the yes or the no that matters. It all comes down to giving God the glory He alone deserves. It all comes down to pointing to Him.
“When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” – Luke 12:48 [NLT]
This is the year both of my kids are in high school. When your children reach high school, things immediately change. They have somewhat figured out their gifts, their talents, their interests. They have selected activities and hobbies that they truly enjoy. It’s very different from the elementary years when they dabble in a sport for a year, only to not want to take it up the following year. I’ve been through baseball season, a few soccer seasons, and even a year of karate while the kids dabbled. Today, my son plays the trombone and my daughter runs. My son is musically gifted; my daughter is a dedicated runner.
Part of the school shopping this year included a new trombone for my son and running spikes for my daughter. They both have gifts in their respective areas, but they needed to be equipped with some items to help them get to the next level. My daughter just used her new spikes for the first time, and it was amazing to see the improvement in her run on the muddy mess of a course this weekend. She was equipped to do what has been placed on her heart.
God calls us each to do something in life for His kingdom. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:5, “It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God” (NLT). God qualifies us. God also places people in our lives to equip us to better serve for His glory. Ephesians 4 speaks of the responsibility people have “to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ” (v. 11-12 NLT). Today, consider who God has placed in your life. Does God want you to help equip them for service? Is the Spirit leading you to do something to help them? Are you enabling them to stay where they are at, when you could instead equip them for the road ahead? Pray about this.
In Numbers 3 and 4, we read about the Gershonites, the Kohathites, Merarites, and others. The chapters contain so many instructions of the responsibilities of each clan. As we read over the passages, it is hard to grasp how this relates to us today. We are not carrying around a tent from place to place. We do not need someone in charge of tent pegs. We don’t have a lampstand. We have never personally met a member of one of the “Ites.”
Even though we do not live in the same time period as the “Ites,” nor need to concern ourselves with the Tabernacle of old, we can glean a lot from these chapters. As we review the text, we can see God’s desire for order. We can also note how each clan had different responsibilities. Everyone had something to do, something that was their responsibility. Together, if everyone did as purposed, everything would flow smoothly and God would get glory.
These chapters help us to recognize how God appreciates order and they encourage us to faithfully obey His plan. Today, look at your home life, your work life, and your church life. Note where you are positioned. Embrace the position. Embrace the order. Take time to seek the Spirit’s guidance for further revelation of your position. Are you where you are supposed to be? Are you trying to take over another’s responsibilities? Are you serving where you are meant to serve? Are you doing too much? Allow God to lead you in every area of your life and watch how everything is orchestrated for His great purpose.
“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” – Psalm 37:23 [NLT]
On the way home from my daughter’s track meet, we got to see a town square pole get uprooted and smashed by a big freight truck. It was something I’ve never seen before, but it was also a teachable moment that I took advantage of when it was available. The reason the truck driver could not navigate the turn is because someone else disobeyed the traffic signs and pulled over a car length ahead of the line to stop. The truck driver had no room. Even when the lady in the car reversed as far as the car behind her permitted, it was not enough for the truck driver. Then it was a chain reaction. Truck 1. Pole 0.
My daughter was upset. She was concerned that someone would have to pay for the pole, and that someone would have to put the new pole in place. She didn’t understand why the lady did what she did, and she thought that she should be punished for putting the truck in an impossible situation to navigate. At the same time, she wondered if the truck driver would be punished because he did drive up on the curb and tear down the pole. This is where my teachable moment came into play.
We can easily agree that the lady should have stopped where the law says she should stop. We can easily agree that no one should be driving on curbs, though as a truck driver daughter, I understand why it had to go down that way. If the lady would not have pulled up so far, then the truck driver likely would not have driven on the curb. Nonetheless, this is a situation where we can argue that both parties did something wrong. Just because the one party caused the other person to do something wrong, doesn’t make the other person’s wrong any better.
Consider now, the topic of sin. Sometimes we do something that is bad, and then we place that blame on someone else “making” us do it. No one makes you do it, but somehow it seems like they do when we do something wrong. Why is that? We don’t like to be wrong. We don’t like to be found guilty. We don’t want to look like the bad guy. The other person made us do it. When we say this, it makes us feel better. It takes away our responsibility. It makes us feel like our dirty hands are not-so-dirty. But it is a façade. The truth is, wrong is wrong and right is right. If you lose your temper and act in anger because someone sinned against you, then your hands are dirty. You are guilty. There is no, “she made me do it,” that will change your guilt.
What can we do knowing that we cannot push off blame? Accept responsibility for your actions. Confess. Repent. When you do this, you accept the forgiveness our merciful God offers. This will result in something much better than blaming another could ever achieve. Forgiveness. Spiritual Growth. Integrity.
“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” – Proverbs 28:13 [NLT]
“The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” – Genesis 3:12-13 [ESV]
We are Valuable. Matthew 6:26 – Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? [NLT]
We are God’s Creation. Only part of Creation made with God’s hands. Remember, He took the dirt and formed Adam. He took Adam’s bone and made Eve. He gave us breath (the breath of God). Other parts of Creation were spoken into existence but humans He handmade. (Genesis 1 & 2)
We are His Masterpiece. He continues to mold us. We are His masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)
Ephesians 5:11 – Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. [ESV]
Proverbs 24:11-12 – Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? [ESV]
We each have responsibility to shine the light in this dark world – to share the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
REMEMBER: Where sin abounds, grace abounds more. (Romans 5:20)
If you have had an abortion and you asked for forgiveness, you have already been forgiven.
So what does the Bible say?
In the Bible, some were known in the womb. Some were sanctified in the womb.
Jeremiah 1:5 – “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” [NLT]
Isaiah 49:1 – “Listen to me, all you in distant lands! Pay attention, you who are far away! The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.” [NLT]
Galatians 1:15 – “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased” [NIV]
The word for prenatal and postnatal beings in the Bible – CHILDREN.
We also read about:
- Jacob & Esau struggling in the womb
- John the Baptist leaping for joy while in the womb and recognizing Jesus in Mary’s womb.
HE IS THE GIVER OF LIFE
Psalm 139:13-16 [NIV] – GOD KNITS TOGETHER; IT’S GOD’S WORK – NOT OURS
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
HE MADE US IN HIS IMAGE
- Genesis 1:26-27 – Man is made in God’s image
- Genesis 5:3 – When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. [NIV]
- Seth was created in likeness of Adam.
- Adam was created in likeness of….. GOD
Imago Dei (EE-ma-go Day) – Image of God is stamped on each of us.
HE VALUES LIFE
Genesis 9 – Capital punishment – murder in 1st degree
And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God. (v. 5-6 NIV)
Exodus 21:22-25 speaks about punishment when pregnant woman is accidentally injured while people are fighting and a life is lost.
- The Didache (Di-dah-kay) – Jewish instruction manual held that abortion was murder
- Early church, Calvin, Luther, Edwards held that abortion was murder.
God values life so much that He sent His one and only Son to die on the Cross so we could live forever with Him.
[The Loaned Money: Matthew 25:14-30]
- Also known as the Parable of the Talents
- A talent is a monetary unit worth about 20 years’ worth of wages.
- Talent is useless if it is not used.
- No one is without talent.
- Talents given according to ability – 5, 2, 1
Responsibility – Faithful over little, set you over much – Action is required
Time – Talent – Treasure
- We are to be RESPONSIBLE and CREATIVE
- We are all different but His expectations are always appropriate.
- Talents (Resources from God) + Action for God + Time (Gift from God)
= Profit for Kingdom
The third servant – the evil, lazy servant…
- Hid the talent because he was concerned with safety more than service
- To avoid not doing anything wrong, he ended up not doing anything right.
To be faithful, one must be:
- Focused on Jesus – All about Jesus, growing His Kingdom (Colossians 3:17)
- Founded in Jesus – Abide in Him (John 15)
- Fearless for Jesus – Hope in Jesus = Boldness/Courage (2 Corinthians 3:12)
Bible Study Questions:
1) What was the Master’s commendations for the two successful servants?
2) What did the Master do for the successful servants?
3) The unfaithful servant was described as three words. How was he described?
4) What happened to the unfaithful servant when the Master returned?
5) How do we bury the talents God has given us?
6) How can we discover our talents? How can we use them for God’s glory?
7) How can we encourage others with their talents?
More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.