The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.
Deuteronomy 29:29 (NLT)

I’m reading the NLT version of the Bible this year. And some verses really stand out. Most other versions of today’s verse say the things revealed “belong” to us. The word “accountable” made me sit up and take notice.

God blesses us with knowledge of His will and understanding of His character. This knowledge then belongs to us and He wants us to take responsibility for what we do with what we learn. It’s like the parable of the talents, will we bury what God gives us or will we invest it wisely?

I’m the type of person who works harder when I know someone is going to be checking my work. I know it shouldn’t matter, but that’s a character flaw I haven’t yet overcome. Give me a deadline and outline your expectations and I’ll generally meet or exceed them. But left on my own with private goals and no accountability and I procrastinate, get distracted, and waste a lot of time. If I know no one else will notice, I’ll probably choose not to do what I know I should be doing.

Perhaps that’s why I found the use of the word “accountable” so jarring. God notices when I’m slacking off (Note: I didn’t say resting, something He commands us to do). He knows when I turn off my computer because I just don’t feel like writing. He sees me walk away without trying to put words on a page. Words He promised to give if I would just put in the time with Him.

God knows when we are simply not putting in the effort to accomplish a task He’s given us. He expects us to do what we know we should be doing. It clearly states that we aren’t accountable for what we don’t know, but God expects us to do our best with what we know and with what we have.

The “God is watching you” mentality is not exactly the most pleasant thought when we’re procrastinating. The good news is that while God is watching us, He’s also loving us and showing grace and compassion. Accountability and grace create the bridge between where we are now and where God is leading us.

He doesn’t ask for perfection; He looks for progress. He doesn’t demand flawless execution; He expects us to do our best. He stretches us because He wants to bring out our full potential, not so He can get mad when we fail in our attempts.

So, while this verse initially terrified me, it now challenges me to do my best even when no one is watching. And when I slip back into old habits or fail to be as productive as I know I should be, I’ll remember that I need to be more responsible with the time and resources God has given me, while being thankful He extends grace when I fail.

Balance is the key to most things in life. As we accept responsibility for what knowledge and resources God gives us, we can move forward with stewarding those things well. And when we mess up, we can extend grace to ourselves knowing that God is already covering us with His mercy. Let’s keep working hard and drawing near to the God who perfectly balances accountability with grace.

Thank you, Father, for expecting so much of us and for showing mercy each time we fail. Keep asking us to do more than we think we can because we know that You are always helping us along the way. Teach us to be accountable for what we do with the gifts You give us and to balance responsibility with grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Spread the spark of hope everywhere you go,


2 Responses

  1. This was a reminder to me to do my best all the time even when no one is watching. Also, to do everything as you are working for Jesus.

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