One of the lost insights in our current age, which emphasizes rights, is that rights also bring with them responsibilities and expectations. If I am free to do something then I must also accept responsibility for what I do. Further, my freedom and ability to do something often means that others ask me to use my ability in ways that may inconvenience or challenge me.
Jesus says, To whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much, they will demand the more (Luke 12:48). And James also warns, Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness (James 3:1).
Riches, too, bring perils and responsibilities. Jesus warns, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! (Mk 10:24) And Paul advises the rich as to their responsibilities: As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches but on God who richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous, thus laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed (1 Ti 6:17–19).
Yes, these are good reminders for us, who so easily want rights and claim that we should be allowed to do many things. Fine, but beware of the dangers as well as the additional responsibilities that go along with these things.
All this is wonderfully illustrated in this rather clever Subaru commercial. A young boy is playfully offered the keys to the family car by his father. At first the son thinks about how “cool” it will be to drive by his friends and impress them. But very soon he has premonitions of all the new duties and responsibilities that will open up for him. He wisely reconsiders, realizing that he cannot have the joys and “coolness” without the headaches and troubles as well as new duties and expenses.
He’s a smart kid! How about you and me?