Two Great Abilities
"Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load."1
Comedian Bill Cosby received a lot of flack because he told his own people to quit blaming anyone else for the problems they have, to act responsibly, and develop and use the abilities they have. This is a message we all need to hear regardless of the color of our skin or the circumstances of our background.
In fact, two of life's greatest abilities are depend-ability and response-ability. Dependability is keeping one's word. It's being there when we say we are going to be there, and doing what we say we are going to do. It's keeping the commitments we make.
Responsibility is realizing that I am totally responsible for what I say, what I want, what I feel, and for what I do or don't do. True, I was not responsible for my background or my upbringing, but I am totally responsible for what I do about overcoming my background if it were less than desirable, for what I become, and for every area of my life. As long as I blame my past, my parents, my background, the government, or anyone else, I will stay in a self-pitying and self-defeating mode going nowhere fast.
Unless some think I am an armchair-theorist coming from a highly privileged background telling others what they should do, they are mistaken. I came from a very dysfunctional family background, was not allowed to attend high school, made to go to work fulltime when I was still 13, and came overseas to get an education without any help from anyone (worked my way through college and worked three jobs at once during the summers). I made up my mind while still a teen that I wanted to fulfill God's will for my life, and for my life to amount to something so I did what I needed to do to make it happen.
What I did have going for me was a firm belief that God had a purpose for my life. I didn't know what it was at the time but I knew that I needed to prepare myself for whatever it might be. Sure there were obstacles to overcome and challenges to meet, but these made me all the stronger. Today it has paid off tremendously. I count it a tremendous privilege to be able to publish the gospel and Christian message and be communicating it around the world to multiplied thousands of people. There is nothing better in life that I could have wanted or wished to do.
The point is, every one of us needs to know that God has a plan and purpose for his or her life, and then employ all of his/her powers for the achievement of that purpose. God will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, but he will never do for us what we can and need to do for ourselves—otherwise he would be acting irresponsibly by keeping us immature and over-dependent.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to discover what my God-given life purpose is, and with your help, act responsibly to overcome all setbacks, and develop all of my abilities to achieve my life purpose. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Galatians 6:4-5 (NIV).