Active Not Passive

“I’m pretty sure there is an 8th habit of highly effective people,” said Adam Grant in a New York Times article. “They don’t sit around all the time just reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

I think James, the writer of the wisdom letter found in the New Testament would agree. Early in his letter he writes, “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

Jesus certainly did spend time alone with God. The derisive people would call it “contemplating his navel.” But that was for his spiritual formation and foundation. We only read that he would go out to a mountain or just be alone. No details. But his daytime life was full of action. We read about how he was constantly interacting with people–teaching, healing, guiding, helping.

He didn’t spend his time yelling at other people to behave like he thought. He didn’t go to the ruling authorities and try to get more laws passed. In fact, he pointed out that the whole passing laws and following them wasn’t working out so well for the Pharisees.

When asked what it meant to love your neighbor, he answered with a story. The story defined neighbor, but it also defined love. We call the story The Good Samaritan.

Or, as I used to ask the leader of the anti-abortion group in the county, “So, you’ve talked a woman into giving birth. Now what? Do you just leave her to fend for herself? Or, do you take an active part in helping her cope?”

It’s one thing to talk and yell and moralize. It’s another to take an action to help someone like Jesus told us. Like James instructed. Like Adam Grant alluded to.

Be a doer of the word. You may not get headlines in the local newspaper. But I’m pretty sure that you get a pat on the back from Jesus.

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