Responsibility. It’s such a dynamic word isn’t it? As young adult, I vividly remember the time in my life when responsibility was one of my greatest desires. Back then, my view of responsibility was composed of a want to acquire material objects, mixed with the desire to be in the spotlight. I was, and sometimes still am, hopelessly confused as I try to balance my personal view of responsibility with that of God’s.
I think it is safe to say that one of the greatest ways to learn responsibility is through situations (sometimes uncomfortable ones), that require us to consider others. In the past two years, I have had the opportunity not only to observe, but also embrace these situations. One of my fondest memories is the 30 Hour Famine Study Tour trip to Burundi in August 2011. It provided me with an incredible, life-altering memory. As I returned from the trip, I was immediately thrown back into the American way of life—including starting college just two days after my return to the states. Phew!
I believe that by accepting God’s call for me to spend a period of time in Africa, I was also entering into a contract or covenant with the people that I met while in Burundi. Many times, it is far too easy to leave a mission trip, and depart from the mountaintop high as we acclimate to daily life. It was impossible for me to come home, to the comfort of the U.S., and remain unmoved by what we experienced in Burundi. In fact, I became distraught with myself if I forgot about the love and passion the people of Gasorwe, Burundi have for each other. I know to this day that I have been charged with a responsibility to all of the people of the Earth who live without social justice.
With this in mind, the term ‘responsibility’ has taken a new form. Responsibility is not about elevating myself to a level in which I feel comfortable or important. Instead, it should be a testament to the level in which we are lowered; taking on the form of a servant and messenger and working for the benefit of an individual or group. In this case, my “group” numbers millions of people, all over the world, who need me to be their voice and servant.
I leave you with this one thought to take away: Phillipians 2:5-9 states, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death–‐even death on a cross.”
I believe that we can model our concept of responsibility after Jesus. If the God of the Universe chose to come down to Earth, take the form of a simple human, and then build a whole life of ministry around serving others, then I too can value the experience that I had by focusing on being the voice for all whom are victims to social injustice in our world.
Preston Goff is currently a Freshman at Southern Nazarene University where he is studying Theology & Ministry and Spanish Translation. He joined the Study Tour to Burundi in August of 2011 where he put to use his photography skills. He also joined the Famine Team for a conference in SoCal last fall to talk about his experience overseas. Preston plans on being a youth pastor after he graduates.