What Is Your Authority? What Is Your Responsibility?


August 1st, 2010

Yesterday, I looked at my once formally gorgeous front yard, and slowly came to the painful acknowledgement, that it might not return to its green state this year. As I did, I found myself frustrated that rainfall in Keene has been so scarce over the past summer. I also thought of a story.

Some years ago there was a serious draught affecting the southern part of the US. After several weeks of limited rainfall and reservoirs drying up, water control laws were put into place to conserve the supply.

A Department of Water Resources representative stops at a Texas ranch and talks with an old rancher. He tells the rancher, “I need to inspect your ranch for your water allocation.”

The old rancher says, “Okay, but don’t go in that field over there.”

The Water representative says, “Mister, I have the responsibility to do this job. I have the authority of the Federal Government with me.. See this card? This card means I am allowed to go WHEREVER I WISH on any agricultural land. No questions asked or answered. Have I made myself clear? Do you understand?”

The old rancher nods politely and goes about his chores.

Later, the old rancher hears loud screams and sees the Water Rep running for his life. And close behind is the rancher’s bull. The bull is gaining with every step. The Rep is clearly terrified, so the old rancher immediately throws down his tools, runs to the fence and yells at the top of his lungs,

“Your card! Show him your card!”

You and I, we to have an authority and a responsibility. You and I, we are Children of God, and along with that title comes authority and responsibility. Authority is defined as the legitimate use of power. We certainly have been a gifted and blessed with a power. We have the power of Christ at the center of our beings, and we need to use it. We need to use it to make a difference.

We also have a responsibility. Too often, people of faith like to claim the authority while forgetting the responsibility. We like to forget the responsibility because it isn’t always easy, pleasant or fun. Our responsibility is to serve, comfort, love, and fight for our neighbors. We are to stand up for those that hurt, that struggle, and that doubt.

We are supposed to reach out a make a difference. We are supposed to reach out and offer each one a little bit of that power we possess. The power of Jesus Christ; the power to start over, the power to forgive ourselves, the power to live a life that makes sense.

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