The Responsibility

Saturday, June 8, 2024
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Through All The Changing Scenes"1 (Lyrics)

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray continually. (NIV)

Agnes is very old for a goat. Yet, she has done a wonderful job acting as foster mom to our five adopted goat kids. I have very much enjoyed watching her mothering skills and how the kids have responded by trusting her and obeying. As of late, however, I have noticed that she has a new mentoring tactic. In the morning, the little ones now run out of the barn ahead of her, instead of behind her. At first, they would enter the yard, but when Agnes did not follow, they would begin calling to her and become agitated when she did not come. Agnes, however, was unperturbed and remained lying inside the barn door where she could call out encouragement to them and they could be reassured by seeing her. Thus, over the weeks, the kids have become more independent and are calling to Agnes less and less. Agnes, however, remains vigilant in her watch over them from her spot at the door.

Agnes' latest behaviour reminds me that I, too, am aging. With age, the knowledge that I am coming ever closer to my departure from this earth becomes much more of a reality in my day-to-day thinking. As a parent, grandparent, and friend who has sought to impart the old, old story of Jesus and His love to others, I question myself: What is my responsibility in their lives now?

The picture of Agnes lying quietly at the barn door, ever vigilant, has, I believe, given me my answer, which is likely to be applicable in your life also, whatever your age. I am still to be available, as much as possible, when those around me really need me. Like Agnes, my responsibility is now to be an encourager — to impart godly wisdom when I am asked for my advice, and to keep my mouth shut until I am asked, for this is an encouragement in itself as it reveals that I have confidence in their ability to work things out for themselves with God. My responsibility is also to be vigilant in my watch over them, especially vigilant in prayer: prayer to uplift them when they are struggling; prayer for healing when the world has harmed them; prayer for guidance as they seek God's will in their lives; and prayer "that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen [them] with power through his Spirit in [their] inner being, so that Christ may dwell in [their] hearts through faith. And … that [they], being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that [they] may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV)

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the responsibility, opportunity, and privilege, no matter what our age may be, to wait quietly and ever vigilantly at the door of prayer for others. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

Forward this devotional     Share this devotional on Facebook     Like PresbyCan on Facebook

About the author:

Lynne Phipps <>
Tawatinaw, Alberta, Canada

Send your feedback to the author

1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you, Lynne, for such wisdom.

    Always encouraging. Thanks, Lynne.

    What a lovely message! Thank you, Lynne.

    Beautifully said, you have a lot of wisdom to share, Lynne! God bless!

    Amen – Parental responsibility changes but parental prayer continues.

    Yes, I can relate. I see it in my own life. Thank you for the encouragement!

    Amen and amen for this reminder. May God bless you and your family and home.

    Thanks Lynne: right in the same place!
    Bless you.

    Nice job.
    Do you have very many animals like your goats and etc.?

    Amen and thanks for this encouraging devotion for those of us who are in our senior years. Blessings.

    Morning Lynne, very touching. Seems our lives are very much alike now. Enjoy this wonderful day the Lord has made.

    I loved this, thank you. I knew it was your writing when you first mentioned Agnes!

    I can almost taste you handwriting by the way you intertwine nature with God’s kingdom building Lynne. Responsibility is a word most Christ followers fail to comprehend. Blessings.

    Love the story of the mother goat, Agnes, ever watchful over those young ones.
    Please help me Father, to be faithful.
    Thanks again, Lynne. Keep writing!

    Thank you for pointing out my roll now in my family’s life. I am in my 90’s and not very mobile but very much able to think.
    Hardest part — Keep my mouth shut.

    Oh my, oh my!!!! Yes, and thank you. We had five kids and several grandchildren. We’re in our 70’s. This Devotional is (as usual) spot on and exactly what I needed today (as usual).
    God bless us everyone.

    Hi Lynne
    This devotional from the other day is one of the most important lessons we all need to learn. Thanks for sharing in such a gentle and loving way which allows us to accept and receive it so it may take root in our very being.

    Beautiful written! My imagination transplanted me to our farm many decades ago.
    The animals were always there to make our life interesting.
    In the city I have a large yard where I grow a multitude of plants, hence I call it my jungle. Every day something new appears. Grateful to God for His creation.

    Good morning, Lynne!
    Once again thank you for your above Devotional.
    It’s encouraging and yet sobering as I too think about leaving this earth. Your wisdom and advice as always are very much appreciated.
    A word in season too “to keep my mouth shout until I am asked!” That is especially applicable!
    God has given you so many talents, not least your ability to write such thought-provoking Devotionals.

    Good morning, Lynne,
    I am feeling like Agnes, retreating to and staying in my own place.
    This month I have turned down two preaching engagements, I find the preparation to stressful, I hated to do it, but…
    Thank you so much for your good words, you are right, their comes a time.
    Blessings on you and yours.

    Many thanks Lynne for another of your very special devotionals. You do a great job of co-ordinating experiences with your pets with human actions especially related to the Lord’s ways. Yes, no matter what age we are nearing we can still reach out in some way to spread God’s loving ways to others. Just from your writings I know you are a person who is very kind and helpful to others at all times. Many blessings for your mindful messages.

    Oh Lynne! This is so good.
    I have just arrived at my daughter’s place in anticipation of a new babe next week. As I watched the older ones helping as they’re able, I saw my teachings in their actions. Table blessings shared in different voices to the same God, made this old goat give special thanks.

    Thanks, Lynne, for this poignant message today. I think you are so right that it is applicable to others as well.
    Your example of Agnes brought the message alive. What a visual! If possible, give her a treat today from me with many thanks.
    I especially appreciated your words of wisdom very much.
    I really needed to ‘hear’ this and internalize it. Thank you so much!
    Blessings to you.

    Good morning, Lynne!
    Thank you for your message today. I liked it very much! Like your goat, Agnes, I took several steps back from my two adult children a couple of years ago to allow them to get used to not having me around for every little thing. It worked. I figured that I was getting older, and I wanted them to be more responsible and not turn to me for this and that. I am still near, but I do not feel responsible for everything that happens in their lives. At first it was hard to step back from the things I used to do for them, but I am so happy now that I did.

    Morning Lynne,
    Always your devotionals have a message that resonates with me. At 86 I am grateful to be up and running, and we are looking forward to another grandchild’s wedding this summer. Both my parents died at the age of 79, and I often wonder why God has given me these additional years and what I should do with them! One thing I am doing that I never expected to be doing at this age is teaching Sunday School to young children. We don’t have many in our small church, but the ones we do have are precious.
    Thanks again for your devotional contribution. And I am wondering about a comparison to a goat! A very wise goat, it appears, however.

    Oh my! I LOVE this, Lynne. You’ve given me such a wonderful picture of Agnes – ‘ watching over’ the young ones. At nearly 81, I’m feeling closer and closer to leaving my precious children and grandchildren. How I YEARN to keep them safe and close to the LORD! But it is so true that prayer is my foremost ’tool’. According to God’s Word, it is indeed a formidable tool – to be used constantly, genuinely, believing, and thankfully. However, your words of description and Scripture are of great importance to me, as I seem to need that constant background music if loving kindness to keep me remembering and knowing, in spite of the changes in personal abilities. I’m always so grateful for these reflections. Blessings on your day dear friend.

    Good morning, Lynne,
    I very much enjoyed your devotional about Agnes and the five kids. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on how I have felt about my responsibilities over the years. Definitely the learning to let go and allow my children to gain the confidence of learning from their mistakes was difficult for me. I am not sure I did it as well as I might have if I had understood better. That is life. The title of the hymn “Through all the changing scenes” is so appropriate for your thoughts.
    I definitely agree that forever we have the responsibility of prayer for others, and it is a privilege. It is always important to reach out when we need prayers. Blessings.

    Oh my goodness Lynne!!!!
    This was so God timed for me! I feel in my spirit to share with my church a personal experience I had to do with faith. I have had this for quite some time and got the nerve up to ask the pastor if I could share. I sent him the message. He asked what was my goal in this. To encourage people to believe and have faith that God is a big God and not to let satin discourage you from asking for what wants to give you. Last night I started thinking… Maybe they would take the message the wrong way, maybe I should sing a song about faith. But this morning the Holy Spirit gave me words of the introduction you might say about my wanting to share!!! AND then I read your devotional and the theme of it is the same as what the holy Spirit gave me 5 minutes before reading. I am the oldest person in our church now. Wow!!! Now I know I am on the right track! Thank you and God bless.
    Please give momma goat a big pat on the head or me.

    Thank you for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. I needed to read this! Blessings.

    This was lovely and needed; thank you!

Previous Post

PresbyCan is a community of faithful, Holy Spirit-filled, Christ-centred, God-honouring Christians.