Are you a person of action?
Mature responsibility is a heavy crown, one that a lot of people avoid.
In Shrek the Third, the titular green ogre (voiced by Mike Myers) is thrust into a world of responsibility that he has either avoided or rushed through over three movies. He now has to grapple with the heavy responsibility of possible kingship and an even more important role of being a new dad.
But Shrek would rather stay content in his swamp, letting the days fly as the mud and swampgrass hang from the trees – and most importantly – devoid of responsibility.
Even the “villains” of this movie (led by Prince Charming, voiced by Rupert Everett), want to experience all the glory of being “heroes” without the responsibility of caring for the people of the kingdom. Almost everyone, it seems, wants to escape responsibility.
Except, perhaps, Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz), the true heroine of the film.
Fiona is one of the few characters not succumbed by a fear of maturity, but unfortunately for her character, she is a woman and subjected to a supporting role in the film. In a sense, many of the women in real life have to endure similar roles; they tackle and accept responsibility, but society seems to favor the journey of the man rather than the woman. Shrek the Third redeems itself by making the women with Fiona the most exciting collection of heroes to watch.
Responsibility is something many people shrink from. Responsibility is the calling card of the hero or heroine in any life situation. Responsibility means sacrificing our time, energy, and even our very selves (reputation, image, and even life) for others or for a task laid out before us. Responsibility may not be easy, but in the end, it’s always worth it.
But often times, doing nothing is the easiest thing to do.
Doing nothing means we are free from action. Doing nothing means we free from having to answer for our faults or failings. Doing nothing means we have put ourselves before others, and that others can take care of things instead of us. Doing nothing is throwing away our God-given responsibilities.
Doing nothing is what got Shrek in trouble, and it’s what got the classic fairytale “villains” into their own rut. Doing nothing never amounted to – well – anything. Because when we do nothing, we allow injustice, hatred, and selfishness to creep into life (represented in the film by a misguided Prince Charming).
In the New Testament, Jesus never tells his apostles to do “nothing.” He’s always calling them to action, to going the extra mile, to making a positive influence upon their world. In other words, he calls them to mature responsibility – for the sake of others and for the sake of their own souls.
In a sense, the old adage, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop” rings true for our very selves. If we allow ourselves to slip into a life of inaction, of hoping someone else does what we choose not to do, then we fall victim to the fate of Far Far Away Land.
What actions can we do (even simple actions) to make a real difference in the world? What steps can we take to be a hero? What responsibilities are we shying away from that we need to recapture? How can we be people of action in our own ways?
Be people of action. Be people of responsibility. Be people of God.