Genesis 16:5-6 says, "And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee. But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee."
Here in Genesis 16, we encounter the story of Sarah and Abraham. Up to this point, God has promised to Abraham that Sarah will conceive and that she will bear the promised child to Abraham. The only problem is that we are told Sarah is barren and unable to bear Abraham a son. Sarah decides that to solve the present problem, she will give her servant Hagar to Abraham to have a child. For some reason, Abraham agrees and has a son, Ishmael, with Hagar. This is even more problematic because God promised that the seed would come through Sarah, yet because of their impatience, Sarah tried to take God's plan into her hands. As a result Sarah ends up resenting Hagar and Ishmael produces a lineage that would perpetually plague the lineage of Isaac, the promised seed.
One application that can be drawn is that God's plan in the hands and timing of humanity is utter failure, but Abraham seems to be the more guilty party in this story. There's an old idiom that is used to express a lack of ownership and a lack of responsibility for action as a result. "Not my circus, not my monkeys." This is said when a situation is perceived to be a bad or hazardous situation but the observer has no ownership or association with the situation and, therefore, no responsibility to act. In this story, it seems that Abraham took that approach to his wife's suggestion to speed up God's plan. If you go back and read all of Genesis 16, you find Abraham complicity agreeing to what Sarah is proposing. Abraham, here, shirks his responsibility. The problem was that it was Abraham's circus and it was Abraham's monkeys.
As men, in any situation, God has given us a great deal of responsibility. Regardless of whether you are a father, a husband, or a single man, God has placed responsibility with all men. The problem is that it becomes extremely easy and tempting to shirk that responsibility. It is really easy to "pass the buck." Abraham was extremely guilty of "passing the buck" to his wife and being a passive, incompetent leader. How often do we, like Abraham pass the buck that God has given to us? God has called men to lead their families, teach their children, lead society, lead the church, and further the kingdom of God. But unfortunately, a quick scan of most churches show that women are largely the ones who are taking the responsibility. While it is not entirely their responsibility, God bless the women of God who have taken the mantle when the men of God have refused!
United States President Harry Truman had a placard on his desk in the oval office that read "the buck stops here." As men of God, we need to have the same attitude that Truman had: the passing of responsibility stops with me. The uncomfortable conclusion is that if we will not have that attitude, someone will. If we shirk our responsibilities, someone else will take them up. If we refuse to lead our families, someone else will. If we refused to teach our children, someone else will. If we refused to lead our society, someone else will. And the burdensome truth is that we probably will not like the results of someone else taking the responsibility that God has given us.
This may sound like a daunting task, but the good news is that we are alone in this role. God has promised to help us and carry us through. We must be willing, however, to take the mantle that others have passed down. We must lead our families, we must lead our children, we must lead our churches. We must embrace the roles and responsibilities that God has placed on us.
GOD’S MAN CHALLENGE
"Do not pass the buck, but let the buck stop with you!"
GOD’S MAN PRAYER
Lord, thank You for giving me a great responsibility. Thank You that I do not have to do this alone. Please help me to serve You faithfully in the areas over which You have given me responsibility. AMEN.