ODJ: privilege and responsibility

November 10, 2013 

READ: Proverbs 31:1-9 

The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him (v.1).

William Arthur Ward, a writer of inspirational maxims, wrote these words of wisdom to inspire people to be responsible and do the right thing: “Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practise. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.”

Before a king named Lemuel ascended the throne, it’s likely that his mother passionately appealed to him to move beyond enjoying the privileges of royalty and to accept responsibility (Proverbs 31:1). The first way she appealed to him to be responsible was to practise self-control (vv.2-4). She wanted him to practise self-control in the area of sexuality and the use of alcohol because she knew if these became addictions, they would dissipate his soul, and he would ignore the needs of the people. It would surely bring him to ruin. Lemuel’s mother could point to King Solomon, who pursued these two pleasures (Ecclesiastes 2:8). These and other pursuits left him emotionally empty and chasing after the wind (v.11).

The second way Lemuel’s mother encouraged her son to be responsible was to practise justice (vv.8-9). The king was to defend those who were displaced and to use his power for those who had no power. When he defended the cause of orphans, widows, foreigners and others who were marginalised in the land, he was reflecting the character of God (Deuteronomy 24:17; Psalm 68:5; Proverbs 22:22, 31:8).

Let’s take to heart the ancient wisdom from Proverbs and encourage our children and others to move beyond the minimum of enjoying the privileges of position. As followers of Jesus, let’s take our responsibilities seriously. —Marvin Williams

Read 1 Kings 11:1-13 to see how Solomon enjoyed the privileges of his position but failed to accept the responsibilities of being king. 
What are the privileges and responsibilities of the position(s) you hold? What more do you need to do to honour God by fulfilling your responsibilities?