Last week I told a story about three ordinary teenage boys who took gospel-centered action in the face of an unbiblical status quo happening at their high school.
What motivated them to act? And why are we tempted to do nothing? There is bad theology and good theology that either keeps us sidelined or spurs us on to do something.
I’m Too Busy … or … God Has Called Us To Be The Light Of The World
One reason we remain passive is because we ease our guilty conscience by telling ourselves that we have a lot on our plate already and we want to be faithful to what God has given us to do.
There is both wisdom and truth to this argument. You are a human being with limited time, energy, and resources. It’s true that you must make a priority of the things God has given you to do.
But perhaps we take ourselves off the hook too easily. Perhaps we are often too happily uninvolved. Perhaps what has filled our “too busy” calendar has little to do with the Kingdom of God.
Jesus says, “You are the light of the world […] Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (See Matthew 5:14-16). How do you let the light of Christ shine through you? Through a public life characterized by good deeds.
I’m Too Small … or … God Does Extraordinary Deeds Through Ordinary People
Another reason we remain passive is because we look at our inability and weakness and tell ourselves that we are not qualified for the task at hand.
Look at how Moses responds when he is first tasked with going to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of slavery: “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh? […] I have never been eloquent […] I am slow of speech and tongue.” (See Exodus 3:11 and 4:10).
This is an accurate analysis, but it’s ultimately bad theology. Moses was completely overlooking the fact that the One asking him to do these significant things was the Almighty Creator, who certainly had the power to bring them to pass.
The Problem Is Too Big … or … God Is Infinitely Bigger Than Any Problem We Face
Not to pick on poor Moses, but he comes to mind again: “Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?” (See Numbers 11:21-22).
Does Moses have legitimate mathematical reason for concern? Absolutely he does! But our fear and inaction is rarely the result of supply and demand calculations. There is ultimately a deeper and far more significant theology involved—a doubt of God’s sovereignty and power.
Brothers and sisters, we are called to step out into this broken world, not succumbing to thoughts of our smallness, or the magnitude of the problem, or how to balance and protect a busy schedule.
We are called to remember who we are (someone who has been lit by the transforming grace of God) and who he is (a God of awesome power and grace) and step out to look for opportunities to light what has been dark through actions of love, mercy, justice, reconciliation, peace, and compassion.
Paul David Tripp
- Look at your calendar. Are you truly filled to the brim with Kingdom of God opportunities, where it would be unwise for you to take on any more? Or is there room for you to make "being a light" more of a priority?
- What are some of your weaknesses and inabilities? Don't be afraid to humbly admit your limits!
- How has God used weak people to make an impact for the Kingdom of God? Think of other examples besides Moses. How has God used you in the past, despite your weakness?
- Think of one "problem" that you're facing in life. In what ways may you be doubting the power and sovereignty of God in this situation, location, and relationship?
- What good theology do you need to preach to yourself in the face of this problem to give you biblical courage and perspective?