vs. Unreliability
Responsibility is knowing and doing what both God and others are expecting of me

Key Verse

“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
Romans 14:12

The operational definition of responsibility is “knowing and doing what both God and others are expecting from me.” You can know what God expects from you by reading His Word. As you obey His Word, you will also fulfill your duties toward others, such as loving them, forgiving them, and meeting their practical needs. When an assignment is given to you by your parents, they trust that you will complete it. Once you thoroughly finish the task, you have shown responsibility. You knew what you needed to do and you did it. Sometimes the responsible choice involves sacrifice, such as waiting to play until you have finished your schoolwork or setting aside a planned activity so you can help someone else. However, responsibility reaps the invaluable rewards of a good name, greater privileges, and a clear conscience. (See Proverbs 22:1.)

A responsible person finds joy in pleasing both God and his authorities as he accomplishes what is expected of him.
An unreliable person, like an unstable bridge, does not give others confidence that he will do what he is expected to do.

The opposite of responsibility is unreliability. A person who is unreliable does not consider his assignments important, so he does not think through what is required to fulfill them. His tasks are often late, incomplete, or forgotten. He may think: “This job can wait until tomorrow. I’ll play now!” At other times, he may not pay attention or understand what is expected. Rather than ask for help or clearer instructions, he may use his lack of understanding as an excuse to delay doing the job. An unreliable person may quickly offer to help someone but then fail to follow through. Because others cannot rely on him to finish his tasks, they must often remind him of his duties. Greater freedoms or opportunities are not granted to him because he has not been faithful with smaller tasks. The irresponsible person will regret the way he foolishly handled his earthly assignments when he stands before God to answer for himself.

Evaluation Questions

  • Can others rely on me to follow through and do what I have said I will do?
  • Do I ask questions for clarification when I am uncertain what is expected of me?
  • Do I look for ways to get out of unpleasant, difficult, or “unimportant” work assigned to me?
  • Am I caring for the body God has given me by eating nutritiously, exercising, and getting good rest?
  • When I do wrong, am I quick to admit my fault, ask forgiveness, and make things right, or do I make excuses for what I did?
  • Do I clearly understand my role and avoid taking on responsibilities that God never intended for me?
  • Am I prepared to answer to God for my every thought, word, action, and attitude?
  • Do I read God’s Word and pray to understand better how He expects me to interact with others?

More About Responsibility

“You can’t escape the responsibility of tomorrow by avoiding it today.”
Abraham Lincoln
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Responsibility with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:


Know my roles.

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” I Corinthians 11:3

Know my duty and do my duty.

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17

Complete my tasks.

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” Luke 14:28–30

Be faithful in small things.

“His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:23

Take good care of things entrusted to me.

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11

Follow the instructions I have been given.

“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” Proverbs 1:8

Remember He is watching.

“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” PROVERBS 15:3

Stop making excuses.

“Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” Luke 14:16–20

Confess my sins.

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

Make things right when I do wrong.

“Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” Ephesians 4:28

Responsibility in Scripture

Miriam Watches Her Little Brother

“And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. . . . Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?”
Exodus 2:4, 7
During a severe famine, an Egyptian ruler had welcomed Joseph, Jacob, and their families to live in his country. At that time, their group numbered seventy people. Now, after their families had increased greatly, a new pharaoh came to power. He feared the Israelites because they outnumbered his own people! Pharaoh tried to limit their growth by enslaving them to hard labor. When this harsh plan did not weaken them, Pharaoh next gave horrifying orders: He commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill the infant boys as soon as they were born! But the midwives feared God and did not obey the cruel demand. Pharaoh’s new orders went throughout Egypt, declaring that every Hebrew baby boy be found and thrown into the crocodile-infested Nile River! During this time of harsh persecution, a Hebrew couple named Amram and Jochebed gave birth to their third child, a baby boy. Jochebed successfully hid her newborn son for three months from those who sought to kill him. The time soon came when she could no longer keep him quietly hidden. Would Jochebed and her daughter Miriam be able to protect the baby? Could Miriam’s faithfulness in a small task save her brother and, ultimately, her nation?

Revealed in Nature

Bald Eagle

The bald eagle demonstrates responsibility by building enormous nests that can be up to 13 feet deep and 8 feet wide for the shelter of its young. It remains faithful to a single mate for an entire lifetime.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. When children understand that God, Who sees in secret, is the ultimate Rewarder, they will be motivated to be faithful with the opportunities entrusted to them.

View the Responsibility booklet sample:

Get the complete Responsibility booklet with all four lessons & activities:

Free Resources for Responsibility

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
“You would not think any duty small if you yourself were great.”
George MacDonald