These days, passing the buck has become a national pastime in our country.
Somebody should do something about those homeless people.
Somebody should help the poor.
Somebody should share the gospel.
And because we keep shifting the responsibility to somebody else, nothing gets done.
Some say government should not be in the business of healthcare. Others cite the biblical admonition to assist the poor.
Some say churches need to be involved in ministering to the needy in our communities. Others expect such safety nets to come from government.
Sadly, we have entered a period in our nation in which individuals have abdicated their responsibilities to larger institutions, whether churches, denominations, or government.
Think about it. Many Christians think sharing the gospel is the job of pastors and missionaries. That caring for the poor and the sick is the job of government and corporations.
Whose Job Is It?
What about you and me? What does the Lord require of us—each one of us? Whose job is it to care for “the least of these”?
- Did Jesus speak of governments or individuals when He said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35 ESV)?
- Did Jesus speak of pastors or all Christians when He said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations” (Matthew 24:14 ESV)?
- Did the apostle John speak of institutions or individuals when he wrote, “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (I John 3:17-18 ESV)?
What would happen if every Christian lived out the gospel message in practical ways, instead of shifting all responsibility to institutions? Of course, our society is structured in a way that requires many professional services at an institutional level. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still obey the call to live out our Christianity on an individual level.
Serve at a soup kitchen. Teach a class. Mentor children at an after-school program. Volunteer at a local hospital. Ask your restaurant server how you can pray for him/her, then do it as you say grace over your meal. Volunteer at your local crisis pregnancy center. Serve those who need the gospel to earn the right to share the gospel.
In short, as my pastor is fond of saying: “Don’t just go to church. Be the church!”
A Story of Four People
I’ll leave you with a story of four people. I wish I knew who originated this classic, because it’s even more relevant now than when it first appeared.
Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, And Nobody
This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
Yes, the government has a God-given role to fulfill.
Yes, pastors and church leaders have a God-given role to fulfill.
And yes, every individual Christian has a God-given role to fulfill: every Christian somebody needs to do what anybody can do, even though nobody wants to do it, so that everybody can see the reality of Christ in us, the hope of glory.
Whose job is it? It’s ours!