God’s flourishing world included clear standards as we have already observed. God told Adam that there was one tree from which he was not to eat. Sadly, it wasn’t long before that command was broken.
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Genesis 3:6-11, NIV).
Adam and Eve knew they were guilty, they quickly hid when they heard God coming. But what would happen because of their action? God calls them and inquires about what happened. The story continues (read Genesis 3:14-24) with God’s response to their disobedience. This exchange between God and the first couple reveals another ingredient God built into His flourishing world, accountability! The standards were clear, and they were held accountable for their actions. Serving leaders learn that accountability is an essential part of their leadership as they cultivate a flourishing world around them.
Accountability accelerates flourishing by acknowledging the intent.
At first glance it may appear that God’s intent for accountability was to punish and He clearly explained the consequences of their actions. But His heart was expressed when He asked, “Where are you?” He wanted to restore the relationship that had been broken by disobedience. This restoration could not happen without accountability. By addressing the issue God showed the depth of His love for them and the great value He placed on them. His accountability indicated that their actions mattered! It also showed that His commands mattered! Two-year-old’s quickly learn whether the commands of their parents are followed up with accountability. And when there is no accountability, a spoiled child is the result! Serving leaders create flourishing as they hold people accountable for their actions.
Accountability accelerates flourishing by anticipating the impact.
Since the fall of the first man and woman, we naturally resist accountability. We don’t like to be asked what we did! But serving leaders anticipate a world in which people thrive as they are held accountable in genuinely healthy relationships. They envision workplaces where everyone understands that their work matters so much that they are accountable. They envision churches where members understand that they are held accountable for expectations. Serving leaders anticipate flourishing as they hold people accountable.
Accountability accelerates flourishing by accepting the implications.
Serving leaders recognize that if they are to hold others accountable, they must first be accountable. They accept responsibly for their own actions and ask for forgiveness when they fail. Then they also make it clear that others will also be held accountable. They are not afraid to ask what happened. They are quick to provide opportunity for the relationship to be strengthened through accountability. And as people realize that their actions matter, they step up and flourish! Serving leaders create a flourishing world around them by establishing accountability.
For further reflection and discussion:
How has the intent of accountability been distorted in your context? Reflect specifically about the thinking in this area in your culture, your family, and in the organization where you lead. What impact has this thinking had on you as a leader? In what ways do you need to adjust your thinking to align with God’s intent?
Reflect on what the impact would be if everyone in your organization would fully grasp and live out what it means to be accountable. Write at least three reflections.
What action steps will you take as a leader to implement accountability in your home, organization, or community? Choose which of these areas you will focus on and then list 2 or 3 specific steps you will take and dates for when you will take the actions.
Until next time, yours on the journey,
In the next issue, we’ll examine another ingredient of a flourishing world: Failure is Anticipated