I, and I alone, am responsible for my own life

Mark Twain, while boarding a train, asked a baggage handler if his briefcase would be strong enough to be checked into the regular luggage

Faith & Reflection

Mark Twain, while boarding a train, asked a baggage handler if his briefcase would be strong enough to be checked into the regular luggage compartment. The man took Twain’s briefcase and threw it on the ground, saying, “That’s what it will get in Philadelphia.” He then took the briefcase and hit it five times against the train and said, “That is what it will get in Chicago.” Then he threw it on the ground and stomped on it vigorously. The briefcase split open and papers went flying everywhere. The railway employee explained, “That’s what it’ll get in Sioux City. Tell you what…if you’re going any further than Sioux City, I’d suggest you carry your briefcase on the train with you.” Twain, jamming papers back into the damaged briefcase, decided that futuristically, he would take responsibility for his own luggage. In similar fashion, we need to take responsibility for our own lives.

Some years ago, in a moment of discontent (I do experience those from time to time and selfishly speaking I hope you do as well), I developed an adage for my own use. It goes like this…”I am where I am because I have come here.” In other words, I can blame people and predicaments and circumstances, or just plain bad luck, but at the end of the day, I know that I, and I alone, am responsible for my own life; where it is, where it is going and where it will end up.

The Scriptures, in both Old and New Testaments, leave no doubt about this matter of responsibility. To begin with, we are responsible for our choice as to whether we will serve God or not. Joshua said, “…choose this day whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15).

As followers of God, we are responsible to look out for others; believers and unbelievers. For other believers we are to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). With respect to unbelievers, we should, “Let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Matthew 12:36 says that, “…every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it…” Romans 14:11,12 sums it all up stating, “…it is written… says the Lord, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess to God….and each of us will give an account of ourselves to God…”

Daniel Webster, famous attorney, noted orator, but also a fervent Christian was asked, “What is the most important thought you ever entertained?” He deliberated for a moment, then replied, “The most important thought I ever had was my individual responsibility to God.”


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