Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Download MP3 (right click to save)
Let's face it. I was overweight. I was! I was 210 pounds by high school at 5'8". Now, how did that happen? Well, I'm blaming it on a cowboy hero of that day. Yes, it was Hopalong Cassidy's fault.
Now, you may not know who that was, depending on how old you are. He was a cowboy hero. He was my hero, and I had this plate that my parents bought me. It was a Hopalong Cassidy plate. He was sitting on his big white horse and here's what it said on the plate: "Congratulations, partner! You've cleaned your plate." Well, that motivated me. I mean, if it made Hoppy proud of me, I would clean my plate two, three, four, five, six times a day. So if it weren't for Hopalong Cassidy, I wouldn't have been fat, right? You're going, "Nice try, Ron."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Answer Begins With an 'R.'"
Now, I need to explain that. So our word for today from the Word of God comes from Luke 15. I'm going to begin reading at verse 17 - the story of the Prodigal Son. It's the young man, as you remember, who took his inheritance early, left his dad and his brother and his home, and went and squandered it on riotous living. And he ended up feeding pigs; totally abandoned by everybody.
Here's what it says in verse 17, "And when he came to himself, he said, 'How many hired servants of my Father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger. I will arise and go to my Father. I will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.'"
Now, it's almost as if this young man had a list of people he could blame for his predicament. "Oh, it's my Father. No, if you knew my brother. It's his fault I'm like this. Boy, what a pain my brother is. Oh, it's my friends. Man, as soon as I ran out of money my friends all ran out on me." Or, "It's the economy. You know, we've got a famine going on right now. It's those politicians. It's their fault." No. You know what he finally says? He doesn't get an answer until he says, "No, I have sinned." In the words of the Bible, "He came to himself." Working his way down the list, he finally came to himself.
Ultimately he says, "You know whose fault it's broken? It's my fault." He discovered where the answer often begins for a problem. Answer begins with an 'R' for responsibility. That was the only way I could lose weight. There was no change as long as I was blaming somebody else. I couldn't blame my cowboy hero, or my metabolism, or my food temptations. "Ron, it's your fault." Well, that was the beginning of a solution. I could take responsibility for it.
Could it be today that you are faced with your own famine? It might be struggle in your family or some financial difficulties. Maybe you've got relationship problems. Maybe they're church problems, or you're going down the list of people to blame, "Oh, boy, if you knew my husband. If you knew my wife! Well, if you only knew my parents, or if you only knew my boss. My friends are... Oh, the..." Stop! Did you look in the mirror? What part of this could be your responsibility?
Our entire culture tries to shift responsibility, but there are no answers in passing the buck. If you want to make your marriage work, you quit focusing on what your spouse is doing wrong and you fix your part of it. If your child's doing things that concern you, don't just blame your child. Look in the mirror to see what needs you might not be meeting as a parent that could be causing the deeds.
How about your church? It's easy to complain and criticize. But why not work on making that part that involves you like you wish the whole church was like. If there's a corner of your life that isn't working, then step up to responsibility. Come to yourself. It's only your actions you can control. It's only your actions you'll be judged for. Get busy making your end of it as right as it can be. Seek forgiveness. Grant forgiveness. Clean up an attitude. Put other people first. Change your attitude; whatever it takes to make your part right. And know that in your Savior there is courage to face what you've been afraid to face, and there's grace to forgive the failures. And there's healing to fix what is broken.
Remember, the only road that leads to an answer is marked Responsibility. It's not my brother, it's not my sister, not my father, not my mother, but it's me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.