5-Minute Bible Studies
RESPONSIBILITY- A Five-Minute Study
Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky
Contributed by Margaret Garner
Senior Associate, Worldwide Discipleship Association, Fayetteville, GA
June 6, 2001
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: NEHEMIAH
Nehemiah 1-6 (This study focuses on the most critical verses; however, to get the most comprehensive picture of Nehemiah’s responsible life read all six chapters.)
Nehemiah was a Jew in the Old Testament who was called by God to do a job: rebuild the wall in Jerusalem (446-434 BC). After inspecting the wall he said to the Jews in that city: You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace. (Neh. 1:17)
They began to build but encountered much opposition. Enemies taunted them: When Sanballat heard that they were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews and said, ‘What are those feeble Jews doing: Will they restore their wall? Will they finish in a day?’ (4:1-2) They were plotted against: They (enemies) plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. (4:8) Also, the Jewish people became tired and discouraged and wanted to give up: The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall. (4:10)
Yet Nehemiah was expected to complete the task, and he was determined to do just that. He was responsible to stand up to the opposition and maneuver around obstacles and difficulties. When they were plotted against, Nehemiah prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. (4:9) When they were opposed, Nehemiah encouraged, Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and daughters, your wives and your homes. (4:14) Nehemiah also made strategic decisions which allowed the work to continue: From that day on, half of the men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. (4:16-18)
Nehemiah is an excellent example of a person who was responsible: he knew what was expected of him and did it. He was given an overwhelming task, but faithfully and resourcefully worked to carry out every detail of the task in spite of opposition (external and internal) and difficulties. His sense of responsibility came from knowing that God had given him the task and that God Himself was the Enabler.
RESPONSIBILITY IN OUR LIVES
Some practical evidences of responsibility in our lives are expressed in the following “I will” statements: (Display these on a board or transparency, etc. or give students a written copy of them.)
I will keep my promises.
I will not make excuses.
I will do all my work to the best of my ability.
I will make things right when I do wrong.
I will know my duty and do my duty.
Divide into pairs and discuss:
Sometimes it is most difficult to be responsible in the “little” things: returning a phone call, keeping a promise, etc. Brainstorm with your partner about other “little” things that we need to be responsible in. (Some possible answers: taking responsibility for an error, paying a bill on time, finishing a task completely)
What are some things a person can do to make it easier to be responsible in a difficult situation? (Some possible answers: ask someone to help and hold you accountable, pray and be sure you have God’s perspective, don’t procrastinate.)
What are some of the benefits of being a responsible person? (Some possible answers: people trust and respect you, tasks are done well and on time, God is pleased.)
RESPONSIBILITY IN MY LIFE THIS WEEK
Spend time in personal reflection:
*Think of one task you have scheduled for this week that may be difficult for you to complete responsibly. What will be the consequences if you are not responsible in this task? (to your family? to others? to God?)
*What will be the benefits if you are responsible?
*Ask God to guide you as you write down a plan for being responsible in this task. Ask someone you trust to hold you accountable.
This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.