Not all stress is unhealthy. Deadlines may create a bit of tension, but they can help you plan and stay focused. Maintaining a budget may feel stressful at first, but it can generate long term assets. And then there’s accountability.
In the No Commitment Zone that we can American life today, the idea of being accountable conjures up images of living under someone’s thumb or being micromanaged by a tyrant. But accountability is one of the great motivators of life: it suggests your job is important and someone has placed confidence in you.
As a pastor, I count on the Holy Spirit to nudge me in the right direction and steer me away from compromise and dishonesty. I work hard to live with integrity and match my decisions with my convictions. That wards me away from glaring evil and sinful choices, but then there are those other decisions. They aren’t illegal or even unethical, but they’re murky. They may be okay, but they’re not the best. When decisions like that crop up, accountability becomes a positive force in my life. I ask myself if I’d ever want to defend that decision in a public meeting of the church. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to conclude, “Nope, it’s a bad idea.” Accountability keeps me moving toward excellence.
Of course, my greatest source of accountability is the fact that God has entrusted me with a valuable mission. There are deadlines unfolding, and lives are on the line. I work in a realm where eternal outcomes are at stake. So it’s important for me to know that when I someday stand before God, there will be no regrets, no excuses. Jesus taught,”Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” (Luke 12:48)
So when we talk about living forward without looking backwards, accountability is a powerful concept. Yes, I want to be GENEROUS. And of course, I want to be PREPARED for any divine appointment that might arise. That’s why ACCOUNTABILITY matters so much. It’s not about someday feeling guilty: it’s about living in a way today that prevents my someday feeling embarrassed when I stand at least in the direct presence of God.
The old song used to remind us, “I wish we’d all been ready.” If we’re smart and paying attention, accountability ensures that we are.
To listen to the sermon that inspired this blog, click here..
And lift up the Cross!