Diabetes is rampant among men and women in our society, obesity has been recognized as a national crisis, heart disease is the number one killer among men and is not far behind in women, the divorce rate soars, and the percentage of unwed mothers in America is appalling. Prison construction is at an all-time high and the prison population continues to grow. All of these maladies are related to lifestyle decisions and our failure as individuals and as a society to take responsibility for our actions and to be responsible for our lives.
In today's lesson, Andy Stanley begins a series entitled, "Taking Responsibility for Your Life." Part I has the subtitle, "Let the Blames Begin." During the lesson, Andy asks the question, "Am I taking responsibility for my life...REALLY?"
Andy suggests that it is almost impossible to see in the mirror. However, our whole culture is becoming less and less responsible. For many of us, we have adopted the creed, "I have the right to be irresponsible, but you don't have the right to hold me accountable...and, oh, by the way, you are also responsible to foot the bill or clean up the mess for my irresponsibility." Wow! Isn't that attitude so common today?
Andy Stanley also reinforces another principle in today's discussion: "What gets rewarded, gets repeated." Therefore, if, as a culture, we tend to reward certain behaviors, those behaviors will tend to be repeated. If we reward those who refuse to work with free food, free education, free housing, free transportation, etc., more and more people are likely to refuse to work. Andy also brings out the fact that irresponsibility can be contagious. However, anytime an individual, a group, or a family acts irresponsibly, somebody else ALWAYS has to come along to shoulder the responsibility and carry the burden. In the case of runaway rates of health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, we have seen our health care system overloaded and we have experienced unsustainable rates of increase in healthcare costs and insurance rates designed to meet the requirements of such costs. The government has felt a need to intervene in this area and we have seen the consequences. Healthcare providers are having their hands tied and are being limited in their practice by the dictates of Medicare and other government interventions. Unwed mothers are often driven to poverty and the government is compelled to provide basic food provisions, medical attention, housing assistance, and other basic necessities. Yes, someone or some group always has to step in to shoulder the burden when we act irresponsibly.
In today's discussion, Andy makes the point that each of us is responsible ultimately to our Heavenly Father. As Christians, we were created to e responsible. In Genesis 1:27-28 we see the first example of God's expectation that His children have respopnsibilities. We are happiest when we have responsibility and we are in compliance with that responsibility. Irresponsible behavior always creates conflict according to Andy Stanley in today's lesson. Blame is another form of irresponsibility according to Andy. Therefore, we should take responsibility for our own actions, refuse to get involved in the blame game, and seek diligently to meet our responsibility to our Heavenly Father. In doing so, we will be meeting all other responsibilities in our life. Are you being responsible for your life....really?
PLANS FOR SUNDAY SCHOOL CURRICULUM:
We will be using Andy Stanley material at least for the next five or six months. This series, "Taking responsibility for your Life" will last approximately four weeks.
Then, we will begin two Andy Stanley series that will last eight weeks and will take us to Christmas. They are both designed to lead our thinking and our worship up to and through the Christmas season. The first Christmas series is entitled, "An Unexpected Christmas" in which Andy goes through the unlikely family tree of Jesus. Finally, during the last three weeks leading to Christmas, we will engage in a series called "The Thrill of Hope," in which Andy takes us through the story of Zechariah, personalizes our own Christmas Story, and then reiterates Luke's story of Christmas. I think we will find these weeks ahead to be exciting, enjoyable, and thought-provoking. Most of all, I hope that this time that we will be spending together with one of the truly great Bible Teachers of our time will bring us to a season of worship, to a time of Honoring God, and to a time of deep personal introspection. I look foward to joining you on this journey! See you in Sunday School!