Don’t Just Sit There—DO Something! … Hello weekend readers! What are you doing this weekend? Have you got plans? I know we will probably take the kayak out on the lake if time permits, grill some burgers, hike at the campground, or something. We’re not very good at sitting and doing nothing. And, this thought enters my mind when we see the news and it sounds like one repeat after another. Whether it is Congress, Senate, military, corporations, bosses, spouses, kids or…we’re tired of nothing getting done. We want the “pot-holes of life” filled smoothly.
The Apostle James (1:23-24 Message), has some great words about seeing and doing nothing:
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener
when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear
and out the other…act on what you hear!
Those who hear and don’t act are like
those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two
minutes later have no idea who they are or what they look like.”
Historian Dr. J.B. Gambrel tells an amusing story from General Stonewall Jackson’s famous valley campaign. Before you groan about me talking about a Confederate soldier, here’s a bit of history you may not know about Jackson: He struggled with his feelings about slavery. So, in 1855, he started teaching Sunday school classes to slaves in Lexington—a violation of Virginia’s laws. Slaves came to know him through these classes and begged him to buy them so they wouldn’t be sold into the Deep South where they would be worked to death. In 1906, long after Jackson’s death, Rev. L. Downing, whose parents had been among the slaves in Jackson’s Sunday school class, raised money to have a memorial window dedicated to him in the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church of Roanoke, Virginia—making “Stonewall” the only Confederate General to have a memorial in an African American church! OK, let’s go into the other part of the story.
Jackson’s army found itself on one side of a river when it needed to be on the other side. After telling his engineers to plan and build a bridge so the army could cross, he called his wagon master in to tell him that it was urgent the wagon train cross the river as soon as possible. The wagon master started gathering all the logs, rocks, and fence rails he could find and built the bridge. Long before daylight the wagon master told Jackson all the wagons and artillery had crossed the river. Then Jackson asked, “Well, where are the engineers—what were they doing?” The wagon master replied, “Oh, they’re still in their tent drawing up plans for the bridge.”
Does this not remind you of my opening paragraph? Yes, there are definitely times when perfect planning is crucial. But then there are times when quick action is more important. It’s not that over-planning is bad, but in an emergency you just can’t sit there while the bombs are closer to reigning down on you! You have to get up and DO something!!
As we see all the changes in these few years in our world, one change that bothers my heart very deeply is the stagnant state of the Christian church. We see the statistics, we see the loss of young people, we bemoan the internet and instead of using it as a tool for outreach we complain that people don’t come to church because of it. Well, nothing can be further from the truth.
We can plan, but we also must act—now! With the loss of lives, businesses, finances and the instability from the on-going pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the wars on our streets, in our schools, and in our families, the anger and division driven by political polarity—even in the church, we need to build a bridge—lots of them. Instead, we sit and bring up the past, how we had so many wonderful potlucks, everybody sang the hymns, and nothing ever went wrong. In reality, that is reliving a lie and we know it. We just don’t want to change.
Young people have been flocking out the back door of churches for over 3 decades now; many people are seeking contemporary songs/hymns and they are thrashed for such “ungodly music.” Others want to see more women in ministry, oh heavens, that’s a can of worms. The breakdown of our society has broken down our families while the church has been “engineering a new bridge”—for years—but the bridge isn’t done and people are drowning in the waters of indecision, tradition, indifference, and denominational fighting. If you feel rain, that is the tears of Jesus who gave his life for the church—His bride.
It’s time to light a fire under the “engineers” and get out there. People of every status, color and age are needing hope, encouragement, and peace of mind. The answer is knowing Christ where they find acceptance, unconditional love, and the grace they so desperately need. It’s time to put away those old church idioms–“we tried that once and didn’t work” or “we’ve never done it that way.” Since when did God tell us we were done and can sit on our hands?
How can you share the Gospel? There are so many ways, but one-way won’t work: doing nothing. Take an inventory of the talents God has given you, then ask God what he would want you to do. And then—get up, get out, and DO something for others and the Kingdom of God, AMEN!