Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men. Proverbs 22:29 (NASB)
I often see things that need to get done but do not do them because it is someone else’s job to do such and such, or because I can do it later. Am I the only person who does that? I was pondering on this during my commute to work recently. You see, at work, my expectations are pretty straight forward; do your job! We all have specific duties pertaining to the positions we hold; tasks we are expected to complete in a timely manner. I would say, for the most part, we all do or at least try to do what is required of us.
Still there are times, when an un-labeled or unfinished task sneaks in. When this happens, what is our initial response? Well, first we ask whose job is it to complete the assignment; such person is responsible for that! We may even delegate if no one steps up…Our expectations are that someone else will do it. It hardly ever occurs to us that the person to do what needs to get done is ourself!
The sad thing about this behavior is that it has creep into our homes. How many times do you walk by the kitchen and see the pile of dirty dishes screaming for someone to wash them to no avail? Why do you constantly find yourself nagging your family about the trash not being taking out? What about whose job is it to make sure everyone is on time for school, work, church, etc…?
Let’s take this a bit further, whose responsibility is it to feed the hungry, visit the sick, and take care of the widows?
We have developed an attitude of entitlement, where we see needs being met according to positions and committees. We think that anything out of that frame is not our responsibility. Sometimes we think that because we’ve “paid our dues”, we are no longer required to get involved. Do not take me wrong, I am all for organization, committees and all, but let’s face it, needs are great and they’re everywhere. A committee cannot solve everything.
An attorney at the firm I work for once made a statement that stayed with me; “…at the end of the day, what matter’s most is our client. Regardless of everyone’s responsibilities; our main responsibility is to that client and a successful outcome for their case. To that end we should do everything that needs to be done, above and beyond our call.”
In 2002, M. Knight Shyamalan produced and directed the movie Signs, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. The story is about the Hess family who lives on a farm in Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Graham Hess (played by Mel Gibson) is a former Episcopal priest who lost his faith in God after his wife is killed in a terrible car accident. There is a pivotal scene in the movie, where Colleen talks to Graham before dying. The conversation went something like this:
Colleen: Tell Morgan to play games, it’s okay to be silly.
Graham Hess: I will.
Colleen: Tell Bo to listen to her brother. He’ll always take care of her.
Graham Hess: I will.
Colleen: And tell Graham…
Graham Hess: I’m here.
Colleen: Tell Graham… see. Tell him to see. And tell Merrill to swing away.
Without giving away the end, I will just say that her last words saved the day. “See…swing away.” I think that is what we need to tell ourselves constantly. We need to take a good look around and really see. Once we have determined the need, we need to go for it, because the longer we let things sit undone, the longer it’ll take for us to reach our ultimate goal.