1.25.2012

The Work Habits of The Prophets (Part 2): What happens to a person who is constantly "passing the buck"?



by Willie Muhammad

During the last blog we highlighted the “Two Ps (procrastination and poor planning)”. With this entry we want to look at “Passing the buck.”

One of the meanings of “passing the buck” is "the act of attributing another person or group with responsibility for one's own actions.” This is a terrible habit for one to have; it is counterproductive on so many levels. It shows a lack of accountability and flaws in one’s character.

When I think of this negative habit as it relates to scripture, the Biblical figure Adam comes to mind. God selected Adam to serve as His successor. Adam was given power and dominion second only to God. Duty, responsibility and a mission comes with power. God gave Adam a task to conquer, cultivate and replenish the earth. He also gave Adam some rules to abide by as he worked, which we know he failed to obey.

The scripture clearly shows that Adam was given clear instructions. When God returned, despite the fact that He knew Eve first ate the fruit, God called Adam to the carpet. Instead of Adam stepping up to the plate and accepting his failure to refrain from eating the fruit, when questioned Adam said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate it” Genesis 3:12. He passed the buck for his own failure. Hell, Eve did not put a gun to his head. How many of us attribute our actions to some force or person other than ourselves? If we find ourselves doing so, we have to ask ourselves, “Where and what has it gotten us? Are we closer or further away from accomplishing what we desire?” When we pass the buck we deteriorate our character and diminish the Essence of God that exists within each of us.

Once while at the dinner table with the Hon. Louis Farrakhan after Hurricane Katrina, the subject of mosque and study group buildings in the Nation being properly insured came up. The Hon. Louis Farrakhan went around the table asking the students who were there if their building had insurance. As my turn to respond neared, in my mind I began to think about how our mosque never had insurance and how I inherited this situation. Plus I was relatively new to the post. As I thought about that and contemplated using that as my response, I could not live with lying to the Minister or giving him that as an excuse. I accepted the responsibility to serve in the position so therefore, it was my responsibility to do what was needed. I embarrassingly, told the Hon. Louis Farrakhan we didn’t. He spanked me and those who said they had no insurance in a mild lovingly manner. I felt bad that I didn’t change what had been a tradition, but I felt good about the fact that I told him the truth. IMMEDIATELY, after getting back to the city we got full coverage and still have it today. I sent the Minister copies of the declaration pages (smile). I can only imagine the spanking I would have further gotten if I would have tried to pass the buck.

In closing, I think the 1 Corinthians 10:13 in the New Testament and Sura 2:286 in the Holy Quran can help us to understand that there is never a time we need to pass the buck. We are more than qualified to handle whatever task we are given (Sura 90:4) and if we fall short, we need to remember that we should fear none but God.

(Student Minister Willie Muhammad is the New Orleans representative of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Nation of Islam. Follow him on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/BroWM46)