Everywhere we look, everything is calling for action. With so many pressing issues (real and perceived), we are pressured for better or worse to react or respond to everything. Many issues are legitimate. Many injustices need correction. Many needs require a generous response. Many crises require a strategic reaction. And that is good. Conversely, there are many situations today calling for a reaction that deserve silence and restraint instead. A wise man or woman knows the difference. Strong and purposeful silence and restraint is not inaction. Sometimes it is the boldest course of action.
As I try to determine for myself what is an appropriate reaction and response to all the situations I’m facing today, I ponder the economics of action. Everything cost something. The most obvious cost is financial. Less obvious is time, strength, social capital, and quality of life. If everything costs something, it may be tempting to say, “then I choose inaction.” Inaction also has a cost. In my experience, inaction costs more than action.
Inaction is a thief. It robs the individual and community of opportunities. It kills personal and corporate growth. From a Christian perspective, inaction prevents us from sharing God’s kindness in a broken world that desperately needs hope.
I recently shared a message from Joshua 6 and the fall of the walls of Jericho. It is a fascinating story of God’s faithfulness and the people’s faith exercised through faith. Honestly, I have many questions about this story. One question is this: why did God wait until the seventh day to bring down the walls? Why didn’t he do that on the first day? I could speculate. I’m sure many present then were asking the same question. (I’m sure those inside the city were most anxious.) But the question doesn’t matter much. What matters is that the people followed the Lord’s directions everyday and God was faithful.
This reminds me, and hopefully you as well, that we don’t have to have all the answers to complete an action. We don’t often have control over the outcome of our actions. We don’t have control over the actions of others either. All we can control is our own actions. And the important thing is that we do what is right. James 4:17 (NLT) says, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”
Action only has value if completed at the proper time. For those marching around the walls of Jericho, victory came on the seventh day. But their faith-filled obedience happened every day leading up to the collapse of the walls. Imagine the walls that could fall if we all walked in obedience and discipline today.
Today is the day for action. That action might be shouting from the rooftops or whispering light in the dark places. Perhaps is it leading a revolution or maybe serving faithfully in the trenches. No matter the tasks, today is the day for action.
May we learn to appreciate today. May we purposefully and intentionally live and breathe today and in this moment, not another. May we serve others with the same faithfulness God demonstrated to us through Jesus Christ.
“For God says, ‘At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.’ Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation.” — 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NLT)
This is scheduled to appear in The Sheridan Press on Friday, September 4, 2020.