October 17, 2004
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
The Buck Stops Here
By Jack Northart
The sign "The Buck Stops Here" was a plaque on President Harry S. Truman's desk in his White House office. On more than one occasion President Truman referred to the desk sign in public statements. For example, in an address at the National War College on December 19, 1952 Mr. Truman said, "You know, it's easy for the Monday morning quarterback to say what the coach should have done, after the game is over. But when the decision is up before you -- and on my desk I have a motto which says 'The Buck Stops Here' -- the decision has to be made."
The saying "the buck stops here" derives from the slang expression "pass the buck" which means passing the responsibility on to someone else. The latter expression is said to have originated with the game of poker, in which a marker or counter, frequently in frontier days a knife with a buckhorn handle, was used to indicate the person whose turn it was to deal. If the player did not wish to deal he could pass the responsibility by passing the "buck," as the counter came to be called, to the next player.
In our society today, it is important for Christian men and women to take the responsibilities that God has given to us, and carry them out. It is a day-by-day decision that each must make.
In II Corinthians, which is written directly to those who are born again of Godís spirit, there is listed one such responsibility.
II Corinthians 5:18
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.
This ministry is not something that requires a four year degree. It does not require special height, weight, age or race qualifications. There is not a national or ethnic requirement. There is no denominational requirement or membership required in any particular group. It says that WE have been given the ministry of reconciliation by God. And verse 19 also says we have the enablements to carry out this responsibility by what is mentioned in the following verse.
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Thus, thereís no excuse for not carrying this ministry out like we should. We have the God-given authority and the tools to do the job. The buck stops here. We must now decide to do it or not. It is not up to your pastor or teacher of Godís Word to decide who carries out this ministry of reconciliation. It is up to us. We must carry out its responsibility.
II Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth.
This verse lists another responsibility that we have as believers. The word ďstudyĒ is the Greek word, spoudason, which means to ďexpend a diligent effort, remembering the brevity of time.Ē God is encouraging us to exert an effort earnestly and diligently, while utilizing our time wisely. Not only is He encouraging us to study His Word, but He also exhorts us to rightly divide the Word of truth. Without a proper understanding of the basic principles of Godís Word, it is next to impossible to rightly divide it. This requires a diligent effort as workman of Godís Word.
So often, Christian believers expect somebody else to work the Word of God for them and spoon feed them the doctrine of Godís Word. This is not only a dangerous habit, but is like having someone else chew your food for you so that it is easier to swallow. There is no telling what kind of disease you can catch from that sort of activity. You could end up with spiritual halitosis that you can be difficult to get rid of! Instead, take responsibility for your spiritual life and expend a diligent effort, remembering the brevity of time.
I Timothy 2:1-4
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
Here in I Timothy, we are exhorted that supplications, prayers, intercession and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings and those in authority. How often do you really pray for governmental leaders? How often do we pray for our friends or others in our neighborhood or community? You may say that you donít like a certain leader, or person in your community, or you donít like the leader of a certain country, so you donít want to pray for them. These verses do not say anything about liking anybody; it says pray for them. Why? Because this is good and acceptable in the sight of God. His Will is that all men be saved, and come unto a knowledge of the truth. Perhaps if we prayed more often for these people, we would complain much less about them, with a result of being able to live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty!
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
As Godís children, we donít hold grudges against one another. Our responsibility is to be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another. Believers get enough angry sentiment from the world as it is, they certainly donít need to get it from fellow believers. So, our responsibility is to forgive.
We have a number of responsibilities before God as Christians like the ones we just read. It is up to each one of us to carry them out. The buck has to stop here with us because if we donít take these responsibilities, they will not get done. If we do, we will effect a positive change for ourselves and others living in this world.
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