This phrase is being tossed around like a hot potato on a child’s playground, but that’s the problem isn’t it; nobody knows the game “hot potato” anymore. The real problem, however, is that nobody even knows how to grow a potato anymore. The wisdom of God teaches us why not knowing how to grow a potato is one of the major reasons the Lord’s church is what some would say, “In TROUBLE!”
Everybody’s worried about the church dying off. Anywhere you go you are more likely to hear stories of how people “don’t want to listen to the gospel” then you will hear about stories of conversion. There’s a lot of complaining going on, but who is to blame? Are you going to blame God? Certainly you wouldn’t do that. Do we blame our preachers? Maybe. Do we blame Satan? Partially I’m sure. Really the people we blame though, is everyone who DOESN’T walk in the door on Sunday. As if everyone would just magically wake up one day and realize they need the gospel, and which church is the TRUE church of God’s divine instruction in which they should start attending. Yep, we blame all those people, because we can’t blame ourselves… right?!?!
Personal responsibility: what does that mean anyway? I’m pretty sure it means that an individual has an obligation to personally respond according their ability to fulfill their purpose, or a command from higher authority, or to the circumstances surrounding them that are in need of their attention. It means we have a duty to fulfill what we as an individual must fulfill. In regard to the church of God, that means building it up. We (inclusive of all Christians) have not only been given the command to build the church, but we have also been given the ability. If God had not given us the ability, then we wouldn’t have personal responsibility.
But consider the following passages. In Ephesians 4:12 the Holy Spirit talks about, “the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;” While that may be specifically in reference to the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers discussed in the previous verse, consider vs. 16 which tells us that what, “causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” comes from “the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part,” You see, EACH part does a part. Christ is the head, but he has given each of us as members a responsibility… personal responsibility.
So what’s the connection to the potato? We don’t know how to grow a potato, so we don’t know how to grow the church. We don’t see growing potatoes as our personal responsibility, and so we blame the lack of potatoes on others like those people who don’t miraculously wake up on Sundays and find their way to church. In coming weeks we’ll learn more about potatoes; how to grow them, why it is important, and what has made us forget how. The most important thing to understand though, before we go any further, is that we have personal responsibility in growing potatoes.
It is true that God says He causes the growth, but who is suppose to be planting the seed? Look out your backyard window. Do you see any potatoes growing? If not, is it God’s fault? Is it your preachers or neighbors fault? Is it the potatoes fault? I know, nobody ever told you to plant potatoes, but think about it. If God did tell you to grow potatoes and you went about it the same way, and put the same effort into it, as you put in to growing His church, how many potatoes would you have? Personal responsibility... if you don’t get it, souls will be lost.