Chapter #2: Initiative, Just Do Something

5 07 2007

“We have put so much emphasis on avoiding evil that we have become virtually blind to the endless opportunities for doing good. We have defined holiness through what we separate ourselves from rather than what we give ourselves to. I am convinced the great tragedy is not the sins that we commit, but the life we fail to live.” p. 34, Chasing Daylight

chasing daylight

Christianity so often gets the message of Jesus all messed up. Growing up in the church, it was all about “right and wrong,” “knowing God” and “living a holy life.” For me, it was about rules, instead of relationship. It was all about intellectual knowledge of God, instead of action. The goal was to stop doing sinful things and start doing holy things like reading your bible and going to church a lot. The holy life was defined by an unspoken list of petty things to believe and do. As long as you did those things right, you could stay in “the club.” Maybe that’s a little oversimplified, but that’s they way it was.

One year all that changed for me. Enter Critical Event #4: Tim Meets a Girl.

Kathy had some bad experiences with judgmental and hypocritical people in church people growing up, and she wanted no part of this whole Jesus thing. She walked away from God in 8th grade after confirmation, never looked back and now had no interest in following this Jesus. But the interesting thing, in many ways she looked more like a follower of Christ than I did. Not only was she much better looking than me, she was better at loving people than me. As someone who had supposedly experienced the unconditional love and forgiveness of Christ, I didn’t know how to live it. Christianity for me was a list of “right rules” and “right thinking.” And I looked with judgmental and critical eyes at everyone, including myself. I was flunking the first class in following Christ: LOVE 101 (1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength. 2. love your neighbor as yourself).

Long story short, Kathy began a relationship with Christ eight months after we met (I’ll share that in another post), and I began a journey toward living a life of really following Christ. I began to learn what it was like to allow myself to be unconditionally loved by God, and live the adventure of following Christ. To be honest, this was not an easy thing for me. Christ took me apart and put me back together again. Over the next few years, I learned to define my life not by a list of “right and wrong,” but by how I love and how I serve people. My life is now fueled by a sense of urgency and passion to take both the message and the love of Christ to the world. And yeah that girl, Kathy, is now my wife of 16 years.

Have you heard the challenging call of Christ in your life? Even more than what He’s challenging you to stop doing, what good is he challenging you to start doing? What adventure is He calling you on? Who is He calling you to now love unconditionally? Because you are now following Christ, what crazy and usual places is He taking you now? Following Christ is not about following Him to a safe comfortable place where everything is wonderful. It’s about taking the initiative to follow Him to a risky place where you are going to face challenges and difficulties. Why? Because there are people in this world who desperately need to experience Christ. And God wants to change the world through your life if you’ll just do something. Live the adventure!

What was God saying to you in Chapter #2?

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4 responses

18 07 2007
Jeff

The first part of the chapter where Erwin explains the story of him and his son on the beach. “I knew if I turned to my right, I would have to do something. So I turned to the left. I think I am guilty of this more than I would like to admit. But it just seems so easy, it doesn’t feel “right” but how many times do I turn to the left and avoid the right?

And then later he explains neutrality of not choosing left or right, right or wrong and doing nothing at all. “At worst a paassive life is only pitied, yet God counts it as a tragedy when we choos to simply watch life rather than live it. Jesus described as wicked the person who leaves his talents unused.

I believe God wants me to look left and use my talents in the way he has intended.

18 07 2007
Tim Kade

Jeff,
I love that story. I know I am guilty so many times of “looking left” and watching life instead of engaging in the moment to help someone. Why do you think we often find ourselves “watching life” instead of using our talents to “live life?” Why do you think people choose the easy path?

18 07 2007
Matt Mueller

One of the points that really struck me in this chapter was when he mentioned praying the prayer along the lines of “God, what can I do to change the world today?” I found this to be very an amazing yet difficult prayer. Its hard to imagine how much power each individual on this planet has. We have the power to create or destroy. God has given us all including myself the abilities, now hopefully I can find the initiative to just do something.

18 07 2007
Tim Kade

We always underestimate seem the power of one. I think the first step in living out that prayer “God what can I do to change the word today?” is to see the value of one. The one person right in front of you today. What can I do in this moment to love and help them?

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