This is one of my favourite pictures from eight years ago, of when Feb Jr. was learning to be his brother’s [Nate] keeper.  I remember us drilling into his mind that this is his baby and that he would have to take care of him for the rest of his life. At the time, Feb Jr. was thrilled! It was so much fun making his baby brother laugh and smile.

In reality, we all have our own “Nate” whom we have to guide and protect. Sometimes your responsibility may not be to look after one person; it may be to take care of a group of people. For some, your “Nate” is a task.

You see, at the beginning of a new responsibility, you feel so proud of the newfound assignment that's been given to you. However, the excitement turns to frustration when you realise that not all days will be sunny and beautiful and not all of the tasks will be easy. In the end, what is most important is that you perform your duty with diligence and love. Here are some ways you can go about carrying out your responsibilities successfully:

1.    Avoid Excuses
We do not live in a perfect world, and as humans, we have our limitations too. These imperfect conditions will always be there and if you look closely enough, there will always be a reason to give for not handling our responsibilities diligently.

You may say, “I’m too tired” or “I come from a poor home” or “if only I had enough time”.
Well, excuses simply make us blind to solutions and deter us from growing. Excuses won’t save us from the consequences of treating our responsibilities poorly. These obstacles aren’t there to limit us but to steer us towards greatness.  We are only limited by our perception of a particular situation. By positively changing our perception, we can change any situation for good.

 Apostle Paul had a physical infirmity and asked God three times for healing. In response, God told him that His grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in weakness [see 2 Corinthians 12:8]. Apostle Paul didn’t use this unfavourable condition as an excuse to become lazy. He continued his ministry diligently and God’s power worked through him mightily.

2.    Always Remember your “why”
We live in a world where everything is fighting to get our attention. It then becomes more difficult to stay focused. To remain dedicated to a task, we must always remember why we started in the first place. Never losing sight of the goal builds resilience in us. It keeps us going when the circumstances aren’t convenient.

In the Bible, Apostle Paul encourages the Romans. He informs them that the glory ahead outweighs their present sufferings [see Roman 8:18].Being upright in our assignment may not be easy; it sometimes requires us to go the extra mile and make sacrifices. 
3.    Stop complaining
Sometimes, we are overwhelmed by the demands of our responsibilities and we are tempted to complain. We should always keep in mind that complaining is a negative way of expressing our frustrations. It leaves us worse and also makes the people around us feel terrible.

Complaining is a time wasting activity and it never resolves any situation. After leaving Egypt, the Israelites complained of hunger despite having bread. They also spoke against God and Moses. God was unhappy and sent fiery serpents to hurt them [see Numbers 21:5].

Instead of complaining, we should put on a positive mindset and think of ways to resolve the problem. One way we can approach an overwhelming situation is by speaking to God because he cares for us [see 1 Peter 5:7].

4.    Be diligent
Diligence is required to excel in our responsibilities. We cannot expect to be outstanding if we approach our tasks in a mediocre manner. Being diligent means we are willing to sacrifice our time, skill and resource so that an assignment can be successful. A diligent person cannot be stopped by excuses or any form of setback.

Being diligent is the highest form of commitment we can express if we take our responsibilities seriously. Diligent people are problem solvers and are highly successful in their endeavours. Those who are diligent always stand before people of great importance [see Proverbs 22:29].

5.    Avoid the blame game
Sometimes our assignment requires us to work in a group; we must remember that a team is made up of people with different ideas and abilities. These differences can lead to conflict. We must always work in love with our team members and avoid the blame game. In all, we must learn to be solution driven.

Blaming people for their errors drops their confidence level. Generally, people tend to be less inspired when we pick out their faults continuously.  A more positive approach is correcting them in love. When we correct people in love, it doesn’t mean we are blind to their mistakes. It simply means we believe in their ability to do better. We are told in scriptures to be kind and compassionate to one another and also to stay away from bitterness, rage and anger [see Ephesians 4: 31- 32].

In taking responsibility, most of your real work will happen behind closed doors when nobody is watching and when you aren't being scored by people who have the power to reward you. Being your brother's keeper means that you need to be there in the dark times as well as the spotlight, and it means that you must love unconditionally at all times. May God grant all of us the patience to see the value of the assignments we have been given and to do them diligently even when nobody is watching.