Taking Responsibility

While farming several years ago I learned a lesson that will not likely forget. Forecasted rains would undoubtedly interrupt the fall harvest so my father and I worked late into the night in an effort to beat the coming rains. At 2 a.m. we reached a stopping point, so I hurriedly began the short trip back to the farm driving a tractor with a large grain cart in tow. What I failed to realize in my wearied state was that I had forgotten to fold the unloading auger down and out of the way of a tree residing alongside the driveway of my parent’s farm. As I came barreling down the driveway happy to be done for the day the auger collided violently with the tree as my onlooking father stood nearby. Standing beside the totaled grain cart my father hugged me and assured me all would be well while fully aware that he was now forced to pay for a new cart. Though not his fault, my father took responsibility for what had just occurred.

That night I learned that many events will occur in life that, though not our fault, are our responsibility. The events of Esther echo this theme. Esther chapter four introduces readers to a situation where God’s covenant people, facing extinction, needed someone to act on their behalf. Responding to encouragement from her cousin Mordecai, Queen Esther called for a three day fast and prepared to stand before the king. At first glance this act does not seem exceedingly daring or risky until one realizes the Persian law permitted the king to put to death anyone who approached him without an official summons. Esther willingly approached the throne of a man who held her life in his hands unaware of whether or not she would live or die. The Bible says that when the king saw Esther, she found favor in his sight and was permitted to approach the king rather than being killed. This allowed Esther to eventually make the king aware of her ethnicity, the coming genocide of her people, and beg for his help. Though not her fault, Esther took responsibility for the situation and laid her life on the line that others might live.

Centuries later, God’s only Son Jesus came to earth and modeled this same lesson by absorbing God’s wrath through His atoning death on the cross. Though divine, Jesus dwelt among sinful people in this broken world, ministering until his death, burial, and resurrection. While not at fault, Jesus took responsibility for the sins of all who would call on Him, bearing their sin, shame, and guilt on the cross (2 Cor. 5:21). It is no surprise then that those who know and follow Jesus would follow this pattern by lovingly taking responsibility in this world for issues which are not our fault. Adoption, fostering, and counseling are a few ways in which Christians can accomplish this in the world. Rather than determining who is at fault for problems, let’s consider how we can take responsibility while sharing the Gospel of Jesus with the world.

Pastor Noah Schlag

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