CAN YOU TAKE RESPONSIBILITY?
Then the king said to me, "What do you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it."
Last week we began a look at our most precious possession: diligence. For an example, we turn to Nehemiah whose diligence propelled him to greatness.
Originally, he was a cupbearer to the king. It was a great job, taste-testing the king’s delicacies, not only to ensure their worthiness of the king’s noble palette, but also to protect the king from poisonous assassination attempts. But despite his comfy job, he could not escape the burden he had for his homeland. Jerusalem had never recovered from the Babylonian invasion almost a century before. What was left of the city remained in ruins and his beloved people were prey to their surrounding enemies.
Rather than turn a deaf ear and say, “It’s not my job.” Nehemiah took responsibility and like David would cry “Is there not a cause?” He felt a burden to take action, to get involved, to do something. And if he did not, he would convict himself with personal shame for having done nothing. This is the birthing room of diligence—a sense of responsibility.
Responsibility is taking ownership of expectations and demands that are assigned, assumed or imposed upon us and morally obligating ourselves to the consequences of whether or not we have fulfilled those demands. The diligent person accepts the burden of “doing what he can,” not because he is being paid or because he will suffer if he doesn’t, but simply because it is his moral obligation to so. This is what drives diligence. It is a continuous awareness that “it is up to me to make a difference and if I don’t act, part of the blame must fall to me.” Hence, the diligent take initiative; they are self-starters and hard workers. They are not dependent on someone else’s motivation; they are motivated by a self-imposed ethical obligation.
Check back next week for further discussion diligence and the example of Nehemiah. Or, check out my newest book, Upward: Taking Your Life to the Next Level.