Tag Archives: responsibility

Is Your Window Broken?

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Ever heard of ‘The Broken Window Theory’? I hadn’t until a few months ago when our deputy chief referred to it during one of our fire department meetings. Although ‘The Broken Window Theory’ is based on the premise that disorder leads to crime, within the framework of the theory is a principle that can be found in the book of Proverbs.

I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man. —Proverbs 24:30-34 KJV

Whether it’s a broken window, things left undone or out of place, or disintegrating relationships, it conveys a sense of complacency and apathy, and can become a new ‘normal’ if left neglected or disregarded. Those directly or indirectly involved are basically saying, “I don’t care enough,” or “It’s not my problem or responsibility,” or “We don’t feel led to get involved”. Neglect leads to disorder, disorder leads to chaos, and chaos leads to tragedy.

We are all a part of something, even if only a part of humanity. We all have a responsibility. If we want peace instead of chaos, happiness instead of sadness, beauty instead of ugliness, success instead of failure, and growth instead of decay, then the little things matter, and it’s up to us to take ownership and fix the broken windows.

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Neglect Destroys

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God’s Plan for Your Life May Not Be What You Think It Is

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While attending a friend’s high school graduation, the commencement speaker gave an excellent speech, one that Christian graduates don’t often hear. While telling the graduates that God doesn’t care which college or career path they choose, he also balanced it out by encouraging them to seek God in fellowship and prayer, to use the wisdom God has given in His Word, and to pursue godliness. He said if Jesus were to give a commencement speech, He might simply say, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

 That’s it.

Preachers and teachers have often said, “God has a wonderful plan for your life,” as if each step is mapped out, which has led to a lot of confusion, not only in trying to find the elusive plan but in dealing with the subject of evil.  Although I understand that some will say His plan starts after a person accepts Christ, which may answer someone’s question, “Was it part of God’s plan for me to be abused as a child?”, making the answer, “No,” it still falls short. And some would say, “Yes, it was a part of God’s plan for your life.” Sure God can turn what was meant for evil into something good, as in the case of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers, but how does it make sense to anyone, much less a child to imply that his or her suffering under the hands of abusive parents was all a part of a good God’s plan? That’s where the long debated subject of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility comes in.

“It’s interesting that while many of us will reject Calvinist theology in matters of salvation, we embrace the idea of a predestined personal life.” —Jennifer Taylor in “God Does Not Have a Plan for Your Life

Does God have a plan for our lives? Yes. He has provided a plan of salvation and reconciliation, and that plan includes the plan of conforming us into the image of His Son. He is not a puppet master pulling all the strings. He has given us a Book of wisdom and the responsibility to study it, apply it, and seek Him and His counsel… or the freedom to not. Just as He had an overall plan for the Israelites and gave them promises with conditions to choose or reject them, although He was very patient, He did allow them to suffer the consequences when they continually rejected His commandments and wisdom. Both the promises and the consequences were a part of His plan, but He gave them the freedom to choose.  He also gives us the freedom to choose.  That was His plan all along.

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” —Psalm 119:105

 

If you liked this, you might also like… “Just Do Something” and Wisdom Wednesday: Use Some Common Sense


Wisdom Wednesday: Use Some Common Sense

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Have you ever heard the phrases, “God helps those who help themselves” or “Let go and let God”? Did you know neither is in the Bible? Well, the principles are there, sort of, but there is a balance. God blesses the diligent, but He also helps us when we cannot help ourselves. Those who tend to be passive, might use the phrase, “Let go and let God” as an excuse to sit back and just pray about it, while those who like to be in control may need to learn to ‘let go and let God’. God expects us to use the wisdom and common sense He has given to do what we can do, and look to Him to do what only He can do.

“I hope none of you who have a garden are praying, ‘God, my garden is getting full of weeds and choking the plants. What do You think I need to do about it?’ You need to pull the weeds! You don’t need to pray about it! Just go pull the weeds!” —Steve Cobb

“Don’t stand by the water and long for fish; go home and weave a net.” —Chinese proverb

“Pray for a good harvest, but keep on hoeing.” —Slavic proverb

“Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” —Proverbs 10:4 NASV

 

If you liked this, you might also like… “Just Do Something” and “Don’t Panic”


Wisdom Wednesday: Freedom

Photo credit:  Luca Zaninoni - www.sxc.hu/photo/1330210

Photo credit: Luca Zaninoni – http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1330210

Have you ever gained freedom from one thing only to rush into something else and found yourself bound again or wishing you could go back? A couple of days ago as I had just finished grocery shopping and was going to pick up my daughter from an appointment, I watched a little dog with a red collar running and bounding through the strip mall parking lot. It appeared to have escaped from a parked car and was simply ecstatic to be free. As I prepared to park my car and try to rescue the dog, I watched it jump into some tall grass that swallowed it up. Not far from the edge of the tall grass was a river, and I was afraid the dog might unsuspectingly jump into it. The dog seemed to have no sense of potential danger, only that it was free. What if it had fallen into the river or gotten lost or hit by a car? Would it have regretted its momentary lapse of restraint for a brief run in the sun? Was it truly free?

2 Peter 2:19b says, “…by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved,” which according to the context is his own desires. The dog was enslaved by its intense desire to run free. Its desire seemed to be more in control than the dog itself.

“No one is free who is a slave to the body.” —Latin proverb

“…use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” —Galatians 5:13b

I am so glad for the boundaries my loving, heavenly Father has set for me, and that He didn’t set me free to pursue things I’d begged for only to realize later how enslaving or harmful they would have been. It reminds me of the time my daughter’s dog escaped the house to run after a UPS truck and into a main road. What did she think she was gonna do with it once she caught it? I’m so glad she wasn’t hit by a car, but I couldn’t help but think of my beloved German shepherd I’d had that was free to be outside with us without a leash as well as by herself, because she knew to stay within the boundaries where it was safe and she was loved.

“To be free to sail the seven seas, you must make yourself a slave to the compass. Every freedom has a corresponding slavery. We can be free from the toothbrush and a slave to cavities or a slave to the toothbrush and free from cavities. For everything we want, we must give up something else.” – from Quiet Walk Daily e-Devotional

“We must accept responsibility in order to have true liberty.” –Ken Davis, Christian comedian


Don’t Panic

ImageDo you ever feel like you’re losing control and things are slipping through your fingers?  Sometimes when things start becoming a bit chaotic or scary, we panic and grasp for control.  But like holding sand and trying to grasp it more tightly, we find it slipping through our fingers even faster.  And instead of maintaining control, like King Saul, who was jealous of David’s success and popularity, he eventually lost his kingdom, his son, and his very life.

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Or maybe you’re more like Eli, the priest, who was passive and failed to properly train and rein in his sons.  He held them too loosely, not realizing things were slowly slipping through his fingers, and he, too, eventually lost his sons, the Ark of the Covenant and his life.

Finding the balance between panic and passivity can be difficult.  You may have heard the phrase “Let go and let God”.  When we are passive, we use it as an excuse to continue holding things too loosely, and we actually shirk our responsibility.  Then we wonder why things are slipping through our fingers, and we blame God for not coming through.  When we panic, we have a difficult time letting go and letting God and trusting Him to come to our aid.  When things continue to fall apart, in our pride, we tend to blame others rather than asking if we ourselves are somehow to blame.

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When we hold things properly— not too loosely and not grasping for control, acting responsibly and trusting God— not only will things not slip through our fingers, but with our hands firmly cupped and looking to God for direction and strength, He is able to help us and even bless us with more.  So don’t panic.


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