Let me start off by saying that on this particular day, the only name I could answer to was
Little Miss Michelle Obama.
Tell me, who can rock a cardigan and dress combo better?

Or I guess I could have been a Stepford wife. Tee he.
Green Retro Printed Waist Dress: River Island (on sale for $15.35)
Cardigan: Forever21
Necklace, earrings: Body Central
Ring: Charlotte Russe
Watch: NY&Co (on sale for $17) >>buy here<<
Bracelet: Fine Things Under $20 downtown Savannah
Shoes: Rack Room Shoes
Envelope Purse: Aldo
Accountability- obligation or willingness to accept responsibility; form of trustworthiness; answerable; able to be explained

In Sunday School yesterday morning, First Lady Jackson started off by saying how everyone is always so ready and willing to join themselves to something of excellence, but they're not always willing to do what it takes to achieve excellence.

This is a very true statement. Let's take everyday life for example. You go all year without watching a single basketball game, but as soon as March Madness hits, all of a sudden you have a favorite team, repping proudly, bought every jersey in the store. 'Cause that's your team (but you weren't in the gym shooting with me??). Or... maybe you have a friend that's a business owner. People are talking about their product. It's flying off the shelves. They're doing well. Of course you acknowledge it, you applaud it, you're proud. 'Cause that's your friend over there doing it big. Right? And I'm not down playing anyone who is guilty of this. I mean, we all do it from time to time. I do it. There's nothing wrong with admiring or congratulating someone else's achievements or wanting to be associated with someone or something that is doing well. The problem comes in when we don't recognize what it took to get them there. When we don't see that it was their spirit of excellence and accountability that caused them to get to that level of success. And when we aren't aware that it will take that same tenacity from ourselves to get us to where they are and beyond.

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.- Matthew 25:14-15 (KJV)

God knows you. He knows me. He knows what he can trust us with. Says it in this passage. To every man he gave according to his several ability. That business owner you admire so much, God knew they could be trusted with large amounts of supply and demand. He knew they had the type of discipline to work and rework the product until it met the standards of the owner and the needs of the people. So he gave them the talent and the vision and expected them to produce.

Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained another two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.- Matthew 25:16-18. (KJV)

Now I will admit, when I was a child, I looked at this parable a totally different way. I was with the one who hid his talent. I mean, the other two went out and traded theirs. To me, that was a gamble. What if they lost it all? What if their return was less than what was originally given? What would the man have said then if his servants came back with less than what he gave them? -Raised eyebrow- "Is this glass half full?" Aha! It was a trick! So I thought. I believed that burying it was the best way to go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But also, nothing lost. Hey-oh!

That is NOT the way God would have it. God created the heavens and the earth. He created us in his image. He created us to be like him. Therefore, since God is a creator, we are creators. We're expected to use our talents, our resources, our finances, our wisdom, and CREATE.

The parable goes on to say how the man came back to his servants to see what they'd done with what he'd given them. To the two that produced more with what they were given, he said "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Then the servant who'd not done anything with his talent came and basically said, "Lord, I know what kind of person you are. You're a hard man. You reap where you didn't sow. I was afraid, so I went and hid your stuff. That way when you came back, I could dig it up and give it right back to you."

This did not, at all, please the man. He called him a "wicked and slothful servant". In the Amplified Bible version, he says "You could have at least given it to bankers so I could have recieved it with interest!" So he took that one talent and gave it to the servant with ten.

Ooooh, I thought that was so unfair. How the heck? You gonna take my little bit and give it to someone who already has the most? What the what?

To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.- Matthew 25:29-30 (NLT)

When put that way, can you argue with it?

This parable tells us that with responsibility comes rewards. And with rewards, more responsibility. More business. More wins. More speaking engagements. More proposals. More, more, more. I heard a friend say that "The reward for good work is more work." Now. You can look at this one of two ways-  you can say "Thank you Jesus for trusting me with more," or you can say, "Oh, God, I already have enough going on. I'm too exhausted for more." I, shamefully admit, I was the one falling into that second category. But that just means, I didn't trust God. I said I did. But I really didn't. Because God clearly says that >> he will give me the strength to do it<< and if it does seem to be too much for me, he says >>I can come to him and he'll give me rest<<. So the issue here, isn't that I'm just too overwhelmed to do it. It's that I don't trust God. In my preacher voice, "Is this helping anyone here?"

Now up until this point, I have been speaking of accountability in the natural sense. While that is good for our personal lives, First Lady Jackson's main concern was to express the importance of Kingdom Accountability. Being accountable to God. Working for God. All that talent and those resources and that knowledge that God has given you to profit you naturally, he expects us to use just as fervently, if not more, to build the Kingdom of God.

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.- Hebrews 13:17

Everyone who belongs to a church, who is a member, who is under the leadership of a Pastor- this is for you. Obey them. Submit to their leadership. If asked to do something, do it. If asked to go somewhere, show up on time. Prepared. We're so quick to do things that are profitable for ourselves, but when we're asked by our leaders to do something, we tend to drag our feet. Talking to myself here. The Pastors asked me some time last year to photograph them because they don't have any updated photos. I still have not done it. I was scared. Intimidated. Didn't think I was good enough. Didn't have the right equipment. Wasn't experienced enough. Didn't know enough. All these excuses. At this point, I could have been called >>wicked and slothful<< for not using the small talent that God has given me. And if God decides to take the little talent that I have away from me and give it to someone else, it's no one's fault but my own. Accountability.

I was even causing more detriment to myself because the scripture says here that we should submit ourselves to the Pastors because they watch over our souls and must give an account. While you may only be responsible for the "Paint the Easter Eggs" committee, the Pastors are responsible for the whole church. And we should do all we can so that they can pastor us with joy and not with grief. If we're the cause of them doing it with grief, then we're only hurting ourselves. It profits us nothing. Who wants to be accountable for that?

We're always wanting God to bless us in our personal lives and with the things we have going on, but we tend to put the ministry on the back burner. If we're lazy and slowful when it comes to working for our church or for God, how can we expect him to bless our gifts- personally or spiritually? I battled at one point with the frivolousness of a photo. I mean, who cares about it? Yeah, it's good for me and my blog, but what does it matter to the Kingdom of God if I take a picture of the Pastors or not? Who would care? I was allowing the devil to deceive me. God has given me this talent for a reason. For me to use it. No matter how big or how small I think it is. God has a place for it in his Kingdom. I have to trust that. And as I've mentioned previously in this post, good work creates reward which creates more responsibility which creates more work. It's a cycle. And the thing is, you never know where God wants to take you or what God wants to do with that "little" talent he's given you. It could very well be just the blessing you need personally and spiritually. So work. Be accountable. That way God can say, "Aaaaaye, now that's a good and faithful servant right there."

In closing, the next time your "favorite" basketball team suits up and you choose to associate yourself with them because they're "hooping with excellence", take the time to note what it took to get them there and vow to give that much, if not more, to God.

Kingdom Accountability.
Oh, and following church, I approached First Lady to schedule a photo session with her and the Pastor. It's tentatively going to go down later this week! Hey-oh!


Let me know what you think! But please be nice. Being negative is just no fun. K?