Ride That Horse!
There’s a difference between discussing Christianity and putting it into practice. A huge difference. God saved us not just to think about what we should do but to do those good works which He foreordained (Eph. 2:10). The problem is that we so easily fail to do simply because we are afraid. We are afraid that we might do something that is unacceptable to a weaker brother or sister. We are afraid that we might have no time to do everything we ought to do. We are afraid that we might do something and make a mistake.
This is a day when we are so incredibly busy discussing and disagreeing and interpreting and debating that we never do anything for the kingdom. It’s so easy to spend all our time listening to lectures or reading books on the Christian life – homeschooling versus government education, elder-led versus elder-rule polity, age-integrated versus age-segregated church – that we never do any real service for the Lord. Discussing has become a substitute for doing and we have failed to do those good works that God planned for us to do before the creation of the world.
Being an incurable philippos, an illustration from horseback riding comes to mind. I know riders who have read every book ever written on equestrian science but hardly ever ride. Some, in fact, never ride. When do they saddle up, they are attended by a constant fear that they are doing something “wrong,” that is, something proscribed by one of the scores of books they’ve read written by the many riding “experts” out there. They are really only armchair riders. I used to be the same way myself. One day I said to myself, “Stop your dithering, you nitwit, and just get out and ride.” I had to stop worrying so much about whether I had warmed my horse up at the walk for exactly 10 minutes before cantering (as prescribed by the experts), or cooled him down for exactly 20 minutes after riding, or gave him the perfect aid to get him to take his right lead, etc. I simply rode, and rode, then rode some more, and my horses fared no worse for the wear.
Today evaluating has become a substitute for doing. “What will others think of me if I…?” “Is this exactly the way it is to be done?” Yes, there must be sound and sober thinking if we are to do God’s will. But if reading books on equestrian science will not make you a rider, attending a seminar on evangelism will certainly not make you a soul-winner or people-person. Share the love of Jesus anyway. Forget about the methods, the handbooks, the “experts.”
All except for one, that is. It is He who said He would rather a person be cold and dead than an over-opinionated, lukewarm, apathetic Christian.
April 26, 2007
David Alan Black is the proud owner of Traveler, his tongue-slurping Thoroughbred.