Recently I received a letter from a market place "head hunter." "Head hunters" look for a person with specific qualifications for a specific job. The letter did not "stroke my ego." It was a "fill in the blank" letter that misspelled my name.

It contained a "hook" designed to grab my attention and motivate me to act. The "hook" was the unbelievable monthly salary said to be possible in this position.

Years ago I accepted a reality, and I do not remember an exception. The greater the opportunity, the greater the responsibilities. If the letter revealed the truth about the salary, what were the costs of earning it? I have no doubt that the costs would be my life--twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Often we think, "I would love that job!" "I would love that position!" "I would love that opportunity!" And we would. But, we would love the benefits, not the responsibilities. We would love the benefits without surrendering our life.

There are two exceptions to the reality. First, if the opportunity creates the fulfillment of personal significance, some allow it to become their life. Many do that. Apart from their work, they do not exist. They are measured and defined in detail by their careers' responsibilities. As their occupation defines them, the price of their sacrifices become obvious.

Second, many consider the spiritual to be an exception. God's opportunities? Grace, mercy, atonement, forgiveness, destruction of mistakes, strength in times of trial, comfort in times of distress, hope in times of failure, and eternal life after death. Our responsibilities? Worship when it is convenient. Study when it is convenient. Prayer when it is convenient. As little involvement as one desires. Financial generosity as we define appropriate. And the spiritual cannot define "self."

In this view, God provides existence's priceless treasures, but expects us to make no difficult choices or endure any inconvenience. To believe this is to misunderstand God. True, all His gifts are gifts of love. Also true, He expects us to accept a basic responsibility: the responsibility of loving God. Nothing provides greater gifts. Nothing confers greater responsibilities.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 13 December 1998

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