This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt. The prompt today is “accountability.”
Last week I had the pleasure of spending two days with a group of children enjoying some outdoor activities and exploring the Bible together. We read and discussed sections of Luke’s Gospel over the two days, and as the children got ready to leave, along with their copy of the Gospel, we set them a challenge to try to read through the whole thing and gave them a booklet which broke it down into short sections so that they could read a section each day and keep track of their progress.
One boy raised his hand: “What will happen if we don’t do it?”
He was looking for accountability, but I had to be honest. Nothing would happen.
This group of children had come together for two days and now they were going their separate ways. If they wanted to take on the challenge, the motivation had to come from them.
No-one was going to make them do it, and if they chose not to do it, nothing would happen, but instead I tried to encourage them in what might happen if they did decide to do it.
They could discover more of who Jesus is, they could understand what it means to follow him, they could be transformed as they read his Word and get to know him, they could establish a pattern that would help them for the rest of their lives…
It makes me think about my own relationship with accountability.
If someone is expecting something of me, I will do it. Though I have let go of some of my people-pleasing tendencies, I still hate to let people down, and knowing that others are depending on me is still a huge motivation to do whatever I’ve said I will do.
But sometimes there’s no accountability and the motivation has to come from within.
If I choose not to do it, nothing will happen.
But in some ways, wouldn’t that be the biggest tragedy? To miss out on the possibility and potential, to wonder what might have been and whether I could have done it if I tried, to ponder what the results could have been if I had chosen to devote the time and effort?
Ultimately, our accountability is to God. And the parable of the three servants entrusted with various sums of money to invest for their master (Matthew 25:14-30) tells me that God is not very impressed when nothing happens.
Whatever gifts, talents, and time he has given us, he wants us to invest them wisely, so that we can hear these wonderful words:
“Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21 NLT)