Responsibility vs concern

I'm reading a book called Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro, founding pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu, Hawaii.

In the book, he makes an important distinction that I found helpful.

Here's what he had to say:

"If we mis-define concerns as personal responsibilities, it will eventually confuse us and diffuse our energies."


"Learning the difference between a concern and responsibility may save your ministry, your family, and your sanity"

That hit me straight in the gut... or the heart... or somewhere in there.

There are things we can speak into and affect that regardless are not our responsibility.

I struggle with this.

Where I have the ability to bring about positive change, I feel a compulsion to do it. I want to try and improve everything around me that's off, broken, or less than ideal.

I bear the weight of it as a responsibility, even when it's not mine to bear.

Unfortunately, I don't have the capacity to give the same care and energy to all these concerns as I do to my true responsibilities.

But I was never meant to!

I am right to be concerned.

I am wrong to bear the weight of it.

Most of the things that weigh on me have a person (or people) already charged with them as their responsibilities. Even when that's not the case, I can't own those concerns.

So what do I do with them?

I can raise them to the people responsible, and I can bring them before God and lay them at his feet.

Phillipians 4:6-7 says this:

"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thansgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Now what about my actual responsibilities?

Doesn't God's promise apply to those too?

Sure sounds to me like it does!

So here's how I'm moving forward:


  1. Bring it to God in prayer
  2. Bring it to those charged with the responsibility
  3. Let go and trust God to do the rest


  1. Bring it to God in prayer
  2. Do everything in my power to address it, deal with it, move it forward...
  3. Let go and trust God to do the rest

The God who created the universe is able to do far more than fix whatever problems I'm faced with (Ephesians 3:20).

Making a clear distinction between what is a concern and what is a responsibility will help remind me where I do need to lean in, and where instead I need to raise my concern and let it go.

Mark Armstrong

Mark Armstrong

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