Taking Spiritual Responsibility…

Douglas Adams wrote in one of his books about a huge spaceship on the village Cricket Green, hidden from the world by a forcefield of “someone else problem!” -in other words not my responsibility.

We are very good at thinking that its not my responsibility and someone else -don’t know who- will do it (whatever the ‘it’ maybe).

I was at a meeting last night, and someone was talking about city wide mission, and he said “everyone waits for the big Churches to spearhead something, and the truth is they probably won’t as they are happiest with the status quo!”

Here is a short story I found challenging:

“This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done”.

Sometimes we get cross with God and tell him to “do something about it”, I wonder how often his reply is “I did, I created YOU”.

It is very easy to blame everyone else for not doing something, we often count ourselves out, and much easier to criticise how things are, then be part of the process of changing the way things are.

In Genesis the question is asked by Cain after the murder of Able “Am I my brothers keeper?” -to which God says yes!It would have been easy for Nehemiah to carry on with his important job at Court rather than giving everything up to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem -he was in the wrong place, and the wrong job and yet he responded to call”.

-Which brings me on to the whole issue of calling? To often we over-spiritualize stuff asking “am I called to do this?” I think when we see a problem that we can help with the question I believe is an unequivocal “yes” unless God says “no!”.

We often think sin is deliberate wrong doing, yet I think sin is also having the opportunity to do the right thing and not doing it, sins of ‘omission’.

This is often backed up my false thinking and misplaced humility “I’m too small to make a difference” but as Confucius said “If you think you are too small to make a difference try spending a night with a mosquito!”.

Our bit, however small can make a massive difference. One woman who refused to swap seats on a bus (Rosa Parks) triggered the civil rights movement, and without her probably President Obama would have never entered the white house.

God does not call his Church to be spectators (or worse commentators) but rather participants, people actively involved in his world bringing in his Kingdom.

I remember the former Bishop of Wakefield telling the story of someone reading Isaiah 6 in Church and ending the reading a line too early, ending the the passage with the question “whom shall I send?” and see the congregation mouth to the reader the missing part of the verse “here am I send me”.

Yet to respond to this call, I believe we need to pray a dangerous couple of prayers: “God break my heart for what breaks yours”, “Show me what I can do to make a difference, and give me the bravery and courage to do it!”

It is not someone else’s problem, we as the people of God need to stop abdicating our spiritual responsibilities, and follow the attitude of Nehemiah and the response of Isaiah…

“Here I am Lord, Send Me”


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