"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it..." (NIV)
Reflection by Kenneth L. Samuel
In these days of economic stagnation, public school crises and health care debates, it is extremely difficult to find any person or entity willing to step up to the plate and take full ownership and responsibility. The more things deteriorate, the more we play and perpetuate the blame game. People want positions of authority but very few are willing to take responsibility for the tough and sometimes unpopular decisions that are necessary, not just for sustainability, but for improvement of our quality of life.
Perhaps the reluctance to take responsibility is due to the fact that the problems we face are too systemically complex, too deeply entrenched or too structurally intractable. It can be argued that the many moving parts to the puzzles of life make it unfeasible for anyone or any entity to take comprehensive responsibility. But the unfeasibility of full responsibility does not give us license to take no responsibility at all. There is no shortage of persons willing to take the victory laps, pop open the champagne and own up to their full participation in ventures and programs that succeed. It's only when things take a turn for the worse that we begin to minimize our responsibility and attempt to turn the spotlight on the actions of others.
According to the Psalmist, God does not renege, deny or disown anyone or anything—even in the face of the world's most evident corruptions and corrosions. God does not even limit God's ownership to the natural pristine order or to things as they were divinely intended to be. God even takes responsibility for the agents that have contorted and abused the human bodies and the natural bounty of God's creation. Every person and every element of the creation is claimed by God—the good, the bad and the ugly - "the earth is the Lord's—everybody and everything in it…"
None of us can match God's infinite responsibility. But it seems to me that as people of God, we can at least name and claim our responsibility for the portions of creation that God has placed under our stewardship. One of the true traits of godliness must be the willingness to invest and to take ownership/responsibility for our lives and the parts of creation that our lives touch. At the end of the day, it is not likely that the God who willingly takes full responsibility for everybody and everything will allow us to take responsibility for no one and nothing.
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Amen"
About the Author
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.