Faith and Action

I received a strange message the other night. It read, “Do you take requests for your writings? If so I’d like to hear about faith vs. personal responsibility.”

Whoa.

My first thought was, why me? I mean, that’s pretty deep territory and I’m just, well, me.

I responded with “Explain a little more.”

He responded, “It’s nice to hear God doesn’t give us more than we can handle … nice to have faith and everything will be fine. But at what point does personal responsibility for the choices we make come into play?”

Whoa. This was deeper than even what I thought.

Since I knew my messenger and some of the things he was going through, I suggested he call me. “Sounds like this is a little deeper than messaging,” I responded.

He did and we talked. Mostly I listened, trying to understand the root of the problem. In short, his faith was being questioned because he continued to do things to resolve problems. As he said, since he didn’t let go and let God, he was told he didn’t have faith.

Now, I’m no theologian but that’s the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever heard. So, I’m going to give you a synopsis of how I counseled him.

Faith and action go hand in hand, in my humble opinion. Faith is believing in what sometimes seemingly is unbelievable. But we build our faith through action … through listening to the little voice … by making positive, God-pleasing choices. Faith is a long term picture. Action is a short term decision, hopefully in completing the picture. Faith is a jig saw puzzle. Action is putting the pieces together.

When facing a mountain, you have a few choices. You can sit there and wait for God to remove the mountain. It can happen … but it probably won’t. You can pick up a shovel and start digging. Maybe that would work, depending on the composition of the mountain. I don’t think a shovel is a match for bedrock. You can go around the mountain (action). It’s a choice, compounded by whether you should take the path to the right or to the left. It will probably work, although who knows where the journey will lead you.

All three choices require faith — the big picture … the ultimate goal. But it seems to me the last option is the most realistic. Using our faith, we actively make choices … do something.

Is that “something” always the right choice?

Probably not, but if it is guided by our faith, we’ll make another choice to correct it and get back on our original path.

I believe in miracles, but I just don’t see too many mountains being moved, too many burning bushes, too many seas being parted. I see the miracles in the every day things … new life … new blossoms … new perceptions into God’s majesty and plan …

Even Jesus did things — made choices (actions). He instructed the servants on what to do when He turned water into wine {I sure could use some right about now}. He told the disciples to find the kid with the fish. He decided to heal the sick … but not everyone. He raised people from the dead — again not everyone — including Himself. He took advantage of the circumstances at the time and used them for God’s good.

That’s what we’re called to do. Make choices. Do something. Be observant. Keep the big picture in sight. Take advantage of the circumstances and use them for God’s good.

I left my friend with a story … one that has been told many, many times with different characters and circumstances, but always the same message.

There was a man who lived in a valley next to a stream. Upstream was a dam. It was raining hard and the local sheriff came by to evacuate him since it appeared the dam would break. “No, I’ll stay,” said the man. “I trust God will take care of me.”

The rain continued — harder and harder — and the stream was now overflowing its banks. The dam wasn’t going to hold much longer. The sheriff returned in an ATV and told the guy he had to evacuate. “No. No. I trust God will take care of me,” responded the old gent.

The flooding continued and the guy was forced to the second floor. The sheriff’s boat patrol battled the current and rain to rescue the man. “No, I know God will rescue me,” answered the man.

The dam broke and the torrents engulfed his house, forcing the man onto his roof. A helicopter swung by, dropped its harness and told the man to get in. “No. I still trust God will save me!” he yelled back.

Well, he slipped off the roof and died. Up in heaven he sees God and says, “Lord, I trusted You! Why did You let me die? Why didn’t You help?”

“Son,” God replied. “I sent you the sheriff, a rescue truck, a boat and a helicopter. You refused My help.”

Solutions are all around us. We just have to look … and act.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: The first great gift we can bestow on others is a good example.

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About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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