Here’s a story:
One man challenged another to an all-day wood chopping contest. The challenger worked very hard, stopping only for a brief lunch break. The other man had a leisurely lunch and took several breaks during the day. At the end of the day, the challenger was surprised and annoyed to find that the other fellow had copped substantially more wood than he had. “I don’t get it,” he said. “Every time I checked, you were taking a rest, yet you chopped more wood than I did.” “But you didn’t notice,” said the winning woodsman, “that I was sharpening my ax when I sat down to rest.”
In this story, we see 2 men who are tasked with chopping wood. Both men have a different way of completing their tasks. In their own right, they both thought that their process would have them chop more wood than the other. Too many times, we are concerned with what other people are doing instead of focusing on our tasks. This lack of focus robs us of energy and attention that our tasks warrant. Having an intense focus on our goals allows us to be truly engrossed in them thus accomplishing them. However, I have found that in order to accomplish these goals, we need to cultivate a sense of responsibility. This requires maturity – without maturity, it is difficult to cultivate a sense of responsibility.
A person with a sense of responsibility is one who feels responsible. I have had many responsibilities in my life – as well as most of you. After I married my wife, I had a much more greater sense of responsibility. I was now responsible for leading, providing, and protecting her. Walter Rowe Courtenay expressed: “I personally feel that I owe a double duty to life: a solemn duty to my ancestors, and a pressing duty to my descendants.” This rings so true for me, personally. For the past year and half that I have been married, I have matured a lot. It is evident to me that my attention has shifted outward to my family, church ministry, etc. It has been a very trying process, but God has always provided me with the strength to fulfill my responsibilities. To gauge whether I did indeed mature and cultivated a sense of responsibility, I asked myself some of these questions below – there are many more but this is just to give you an example of how to access your maturity level.
- Are you faithful to keep appointments?
- Can you be depended on?
- Cay you lend a helping hand or do you easily slip away quietly?
- Are you careful about your financial obligations?
I meditated on these questions (and many others) to get a deeper understanding of what kind of man I really wanted to be for my family. I implore you all to get an inventory done on what is really important to you and what kind of responsibilities you’re focusing on.
When my daughter was born, my sense of responsibility was heightened. In addition to leading, providing, and protecting my wife – now I have had to ensure that our daughter is cared for, nurtured and ultimately grows into an excellent woman of God. Parenthood is new to me; but along with my wife, we are learning and it gets easier as we follow God’s direction for our lives. I don’t take lightly the responsibilities that I have – I ask God daily to give me strength to fulfill my responsibilities.
Like the story with the 2 men chopping wood, we all have tasks that require our attention and intense focus. How we choose to accomplish those tasks is up to our process. Let us all be true to our own process. There is always someone looking for our guidance. And there are those looking to critique your process. Don’t be swayed – stay on the path.
And now, a hymn by Howard Arnold Walter:
I would be true, for there are those who trust me.
I would be pure, for there are those who care.
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer.
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
#CallToAction – What are your responsibilities? How are fulfilling your goals? Are you being true to your process? Ask yourself these questions if you want to cultivate a sense of responsibility for those pressing matters in your life and that of others around you.
Be well and blessed.
-Nathan R.E. Kituuma