Text: Luke 2:41-52; Genesis 2:15-20
Responsibility, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or having control over someone. It is also the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something.
Responsibility, according to Dictionary.com, is also the state or fact of being answerable or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management.
It is also defined as a duty or obligation to satisfactorily perform or complete a task according to Business Dictionary.
I added my own too as “behaving in a way that meets expectations”.
Jesus, at the age of 12 years, separated Himself from the crowd. Joseph, at 17 years, was different from his reckless brothers. Jesus was proactive; he took initiative without being prompted by his parents. He was ready to walk alone to pursue his destiny. He was ready to sacrifice his comfort and take a risk to pursue His purpose and responsibilities at a very tender age.
The head girl giving a vote of thanks to Corinthian Ewesuedo for the 9 boxes of books.
The nine boxes of books in the picture above were sent from the USA by a 14-year-old daughter of my friend. She is Corinthian Ewesuedo. Her father was my school mate at FGC WARRI and in the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. She had previously sent five boxes of books in 2017. This young girl has taken as a responsibility to scout for books to be donated to our library from the USA. The irony is that some of her age mates in Nigeria might tear the books or even attempt to take them home without returning them.
As I have said severally, prayer, as good as it is, was not what Jesus started with; He started by identifying His duty. It was after then that He grew in stature and wisdom and obtained favour from God and man.
Prayer is not an escape route from responsibility; rather, it a demand for an enablement to be responsible or face challenges. Once you outsource what you are a supposed to do as a duty to God, He will let you suffer the consequences. If you refuse to gauge your engine oil and the engine knocks, it is not from the devil.
Another problem we have created in most African Church settings is to believe and emphasize that a witch or wizard is responsible for your failures. Once you imagine and accept that, you have negated your new birth in Christ and nullified the victory of the Cross of Jesus. He who is born again is a spirit being. He is like the wind. We spend so much time binding the devil instead of thinking of how to become more responsible.
The nation of Israel who had direct contact with Jehovah, our God, believes in miracles, but they have a responsibility of making the best use of their brains and training hard, militarily, to combat their enemies. They are very responsible for their economic growth and development. 70% of the fish eaten in Israel is cultivated inland in the desert land.
When we were young, the excuse for our underdevelopment was blamed on the colonial masters. Walter Rodney’s book of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa was a very popular reference point. However, other nations that were colonized with African countries have done much better in Asia even under very difficult circumstances than African countries.
There is a pyramid of responsibility—at the apex, you have responsibility to God, and at the base, you have responsibility to yourself. If you are not responsible to yourself, you cannot be responsible for another person. That’s why the Bible says love your neighbour as yourself. You have responsibility to your family and responsibilities in your workplace and, then, responsibilities in your place of worship sandwiched in between the apex and the base. The balance, however, is at the Base.
According to Wayne Dyer, “All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him it will not change you“.
No matter how much you blame your parents, it will not change you. Probably they never had the opportunities you have now.
Steven Covey said, “Look at the word responsibility—“response-ability”—the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling“.
When you start blaming your teachers for your failures, you are on your way to despondency, illiteracy, helplessness, and poverty. When you blame your failures on your parents, know that you are on your way to being an irresponsible father or mother.
A young man that is crippled became a lawyer. He trained himself from being a beggar. He was recently honoured in the Nigerian National Assembly.
Somebody rightly said that “there are many excuses for failing but no good reason“.
Nigerians have experienced a tale of excuses. Snake entered the turbines, hence no electricity. Our leaders are so good at giving stupid excuses for their failures.
George Bernard Shaw wrote. “When a government starts blaming the past administration for their failures without taking actions to do things right, know that they have no benefit for the people“.
Donald Trump cannot make any statement without mentioning Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. I shall not mention Lai Mohammed or Goodluck Jonathan.
Winston Churchill said, “The price of greatness is in responsibility“.
You cannot be great without responsibility. Donald Trump had the impudence to call African countries shitholes because of successive irresponsible leaders in Africa. They see office as an attainment instead of a responsibility to serve. We, as citizens, have not been responsible too. We demand payments to vote. We are the ones who steal ballot boxes. We are the ones who vote multiple times. We are the ones who refuse to vote. We don’t partake in politics and we complain. We must start teaching civic responsibilities very early from primary schools.
Three African students were admitted into Princeton University in the early sixties or late 50’s. They were from one secondary school in rural Africa then. They were the only set of students admitted from the same secondary school in the whole world into Princeton University. They were smarter than their American mates they were and now Professor Ogbemi Omatete, Professor Vremudia Diejemaoh, Dr. Micheal Edo. They were from Government College Ughelli.
Donald Trump could not attend Princeton University or any Ivy league university for that matter. He was not smart enough. However, the fact that our leaders failed us does not translate to a sentence that we must fail the next generation or for that generation to fail itself.
I owe God, Nigeria, and this my beautiful granddaughter a duty, that never again will my granddaughter’s generation be called a nation of shitholes by a megalomaniacal asshole like Donald Trump.
We owe ourselves a duty not to provide the ammunition for people to insult us. Donald Trump’s insult is a wake-up call.
True, the average Nigerian family in the USA has more graduates and post-graduate degree holders than any other nationalities including White American families.
Insults should lead to insight.
Viktor E. Franklin said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Jim Rohn said, “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of“.
I told my students they had a duty, just like me, to change ourselves to change our nation; that no man will use derogatory words to describe us again even in ignorance.