Aspen leaves at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Even God’s family has responsibilities

Have you ever thought about your responsibilities as a Christ follower? Because we do have responsibilities. I don’t know if anybody really talks about it, but those responsibilities do exist.

I think it’s really easy to forget that God has a plan for each of our lives, especially because people don’t really talk about what He expects from us very often. And some of that may be fear of confusing salvation by works with salvation by grace through faith, but just because we’re afraid of confusing people with a topic isn’t reason enough to avoid talking about it.

In every family, each member has a responsibility. Sort of like in a body, where every part has something it’s designed to do.  When I was little and my family would go camping, each one of us had an assigned job at the campsite, and it was our responsibility to do our part, otherwise things just didn’t get done. So when we choose to join the family of God, why do we think it’s any different?

Aspen leaves at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Aspen leaves at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is Luke 12:48.

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.

This is a verse I grew up with, but in thinking about it this morning, it took on new meaning to me. Every American Christian has been given much, whether you are the wealthiest person in the United States or the poorest. Americans have freedom and opportunity, and if we’re willing to work hard, we can better ourselves. That’s not the case in other countries.

So regardless of how you grew up or when you came to know Christ, as a Christian in America, you have a responsibility to use your resources to help others come to know God through Jesus too. You have a responsibility to love people.

But I want to narrow in on a certain group of Christians out there, one that I have a particular burden for. Because I’m one of them. We’re the Christians who started going to church in a baby carrier. We’re the Christians who grew up with the Bible in our homes and, in some cases, in our schools. We’re the ones who’ve known Jesus since we were children.

So what? What difference does that make? What difference does it make if you’ve known Christ since you were 7 versus 47?

If you’ve been given a lot, a lot will be required of you. But if you’ve been entrusted with a lot, even more will be required. The Amplified Version says: “required and demanded of you.”

If you’re a Christian who was raised in a godly home, who had access to a Bible from the earliest days of your youth, who had parents who taught you to respect God and love Him, who had a church that encouraged you to grow in maturity, you haven’t just been given much. You’ve been entrusted with much. And there’s a big difference.

Do you think it was an accident you were born in a Christian home with a Christian family? No. That was part of God’s plan (just like it was part of God’s plan if you weren’t born in a Christian home with a Christian family). There are no accidents. There are no coincidences.

So what are you going to do with that? I’ve known too many Christians who were raised in families that loved God–not perfect families but what family is perfect?–who decided the God-thing wasn’t for them. Too many people who came to know Christ at a young age are just sitting back and doing nothing with the opportunities God has given them.

That’s why long-time Christians find new believers so refreshing. Their faith is so new, so exciting, so alive. Well, guess what, Long-Time Christian? Your faith can be new, exciting, and alive too. You just have to work at it. You just have to keep testing it, keep pushing it, keep expecting God to do amazing things. And He will.

But you can’t sit back and just wait for it to happen. You have to get up. You have to get moving. You have a responsibility to use the knowledge and experience and the life that God has given you to help others.

Imagine what our churches would look like if the experienced Christians actually stood up and did something instead of expecting to be served. What I’m seeing is that the new Christians are the ones jumping up to participate in ministry, and that’s spectacular! That’s the best way to keep growing in faith. But what about the folks who have grown up with their faith? What about the people who’ve known Christ for 20, 30, 40, 50 years? Where are they? What are they doing for Christ today?

I don’t want to pick on anyone. I just want to ask the questions. And I want to hold myself to the same standard. If I’m not doing anything for Christ today, then I’m wasting the life He gave me. I’m wasting the knowledge of the Bible that He gave me. I’m wasting the relationship He gave me. And I’m missing out on a HUGE opportunity to witness the impossible.

Maybe you grew up in a Christian home and you think this God-thing isn’t for you. Can I respectfully urge you to reconsider? You don’t have to have your parents’ faith for God to be real in your life. Actually, you can’t have your parents’ faith. You have to have your own.

No, you can’t lose your salvation. No, God will never reject you. But I can pretty much guarantee you that He won’t be happy with you if you treat His gifts like they aren’t important.

If you grew up in a Christian home, if you’ve known Christ since you were a child, and you aren’t actively involved in serving others today, you’re in trouble. Because you’re part of a family. You’re part of God’s family. And you have a responsibility to that family. You’ve been entrusted with the greatest responsibility there is–loving people, helping people meet Christ–and if you throw it away or ignore it because it makes you uncomfortable or because it’s too much work, God is going to have something to say about that.

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God will work out His plans for us; we just have to hang on

Today’s verse is Psalm 138:8.

8 The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
      for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
      Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

It’s good to remember that God has plans for our lives. I forget that sometimes and feel like my life is a crazy, screwed up mess. It’s hard to remember that God has a plan when I can hardly get organized enough to keep a schedule together.

I love the Psalms. They just sound like my life. You start the day praising God and then something goes nuts and you end up depressed but then you remember that God is awesome and that He loves you and you end the day joyful again, remembering that God knows what He’s doing. The Psalms are a roller coaster of emotion. God’s always with me. God, why have you abandoned me? God, you make me strong. God, I feel so weak. God, you keep me safe. God, my enemies are attacking me and I am vulnerable. If everyone’s life wasn’t like that, you’d think David was bipolar or something.

But everyone has experienced what David went through. Everybody’s life has turned upside down at one point or another. Everyone has been abandoned and betrayed by friends. Everyone has sometimes wondered where God went (everyone has, so don’t act holy and say you’ve never felt that way). And I know we all wonder just what the heck God is doing. He makes no sense at all most of the time . . . but then I remember that if I could understand God, He wouldn’t be God.

If God revealed all His plans to me, I really believe my head would explode. He’s got a lot in store for me. I can tell you that because He’s given me a lot. He’s given me a wonderful family. He’s given me the best church in America and the most amazing Pastor in the world (who stopped in to see my grandma in the hospital yesterday in spite of having the busiest schedule known to man; I can’t say enough good about my pastor). He’s given me a job. He’s given me a brain that I use most of the time. He’s given me a lot of different skills and talents. And He’s placed me in a country that allows me (at least at this point) to speak my mind about the way I feel about things.

God has given me a lot. So I know that He’s going to ask me for a lot. I grew up with the verse, Luke 12:48. “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.”

God has plans for my life. And He’s got plans for your life too, even though it may not feel like it now. What I struggle with the most is feeling like nothing is happening, feeling like all I’m doing is waiting, like the only thing I accomplish in a day is converting oxygen into CO2. But here’s where today’s verse comes in: Do we actually think we’re the ones who accomplish anything?

Today’s verse says God will work out his plans for my life. Not Amy will work them out. God will.

So when it comes right down to it, all I have to do is wait and listen and be ready to move. When God tells me to do something, I need to do it no matter how crazy it might sound because when He asks me to do something it’s going to be a part of His plan for my life. And when I’m moving in tandem with God’s plan, that’s when He can start to accomplish HUGE things that I would never have been able to do on my own.

All I have to do is take it a day at a time. So what is my job today? I’m going to work at my corporate American job. And even if everything falls apart (I’m actually expecting it to because I’ve got a Spanish web site that’s supposed to go live today and I don’t think it’s going to happen), my job is to stay focused on God and living the way He’s called me to live.  And if He opens the door to tell other people about Him, I will walk through it. And if He allows me to help people today, I will. And if I make it home tonight without having accomplishing any of my goals for the day, it will be all right. Becuase in the end, it’s God’s goal that’s the most important and it’s God’s plan that’s going to help people the most. I’m just along for the ride. . . . and, man, what a crazy ride it is!