Summary: A look at three vital relationships to your Christian walk.
Relationships Are Everything
In 1995, the oldest bank in England announced it was seeking bankruptcy. It lost nearly one billion dollars in a stock gamble. At the time it went under, it held over $100 million in assets for Queen Elizabeth. It all started a year earlier when their chief trader at their Singapore office started betting some very big money on Japan’s stock market. He made a lot of money for the company, but then an earthquake hit Kobe, Japan, and in January 1995, the stock market took a severe nose dive. Thinking it was a temporary loss, the trader started doubling up on his gambling hoping to make very large sums when the market rebounded. Instead of the bank cutting its losses, it just kept pouring money into the Singapore exchange, and their employee would just use it to bet more on the market. They sent nearly $900 million dollars to this man, and he in turn, lost it all.
How could one twenty-eight-year-old employee in Singapore lose nearly a billion dollars and ruin the oldest and most influential bank in England? It all boiled down to a lack of supervision and a lack of accountability. For those who are actively engaged in stock market trading for companies, they are never allowed to keep their own books. They are never allowed to run freely without some sort of double check system in place. However, this was the exception. This employee was allowed to invest and keep his own books without anyone looking over his shoulder. It’s like putting a stick of dynamite in one hand of a child and a match in the other – there is going to be a severe explosion sooner or later.
Accountability is nothing new to us. We are accountable to all types of people. At work, most of us are accountable to our boss or to our business partners. At school, you are accountable to the teacher or principal. At home, you are accountable to your spouse or your parents. On the highway, you are accountable to the police officers who watch your speed. In the government, one branch is accountable to the other branches. We have accountability all around us in our everyday lives – except in church circles it seems. When it comes to our personal relationship with Jesus Christ and our Christian walk, we forget that we need to be held accountable for our actions. We think that our actions are no one else’s business but our own. We get scared that others will judge or condemn us if we let them know certain things. We begin to think that we are only accountable to ourselves, and that becomes dangerous. After all, how do you think all of the church scandals start? It is almost always because of a lack of accountability.
I want you to know this morning that you will be held accountable for your spiritual walk someday. This will be made plain as we search our passage of Scripture this morning. Turn with me to Matthew 12:33-37 to see what Jesus had to say about accountability.
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.
It seems clear that we will all have to give an account to God, and we will be held accountable even for the words we say here. Thus, we must make sure that we bear good fruit. How do we develop and make sure the fruit we produce is good and not bad? We must develop three important relationships that will help us stay the course and stand unashamed before God on that day of judgment. Before we look at these vital relationships, let’s look to the Lord in prayer.
Relationship #1: Find a Mentor.
I have to admit that when I hear the word mentor, I don’t get an accurate picture in my mind. When I hear this term, I automatically get a picture or Jedi Master Yoda in Star Wars saying, “Use the force, you must.” Now, this may be a silly example, but it has some good points. After all, Yoda passes on extreme wisdom to his pupils. Yoda lives in a way to be emulated by his pupils. Yoda looks out for the good of all his students.