Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Being Accountable

My dirty word for the day is “accountability.” It is one of those words that make us uncomfortable. I think we all try to avoid being accountable to someone else we can. I love the freedom of retirement, but I still find that I am—and must be—accountable to others. I thought about this Sunday when I preached about the rich young ruler. The key verse in this story is this:

Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Mark 10:21, NIV)

The real challenge is not giving up riches, but following Jesus. If this man did that he would have to become accountable to someone else. He would have to answer to Jesus and allow Jesus to set his priorities. If he had been willing to accept this challenge, he would have gained much more (as Jesus goes on to explain) but he chose not to do so.

Although society makes us accountable in many ways, for the most part accountability is a free choice. We choose whether we will be accountable to someone else or not. We become accountable to an organization or company and its leaders because we want to make a living and a contribution. We join accountability groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Weight Watchers because we want to change our habits and our lives. We give up some freedom and become accountable to spouse and family because we value these relationships and want them to succeed. In a coaching relationship, the client becomes accountable to the coach so that he or she can achieve life goals. In coaching, as in any other relationship, the only power that a coach has over the client is given by the client.

Accountability is not a dirty word. If we want to grow as believers or persons, we must give up complete autonomy and become accountable. This is the way that we enrich our lives and find fulfillment

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