Monday, May 5, 2008

Time to Get up and Act

There's a line from an old comic strip: "I'd like to ask God why He doesn't do something about all the pain and evil in the world.... but I'm afraid He might ask me the same thing."

Most of us are all too quick to fault God (or media, or government, or education, or "others" in general) for not solving the problems of our society, and all too slow to lift a finger ourselves. Although we may be overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation, the claim that we're too small for such a big job usually is rooted in laziness. We want God or someone else to make this a better world for us to live in--and relieve us of any guilt or responsibility.

We may claim we shouldn't have to help solve problems we didn't create. But the Bible says, "Anyone... who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins" (James 4:17, NIV). And if God was willing to solve the problem of our own sin, which He certainly wasn't responsible for, who are we to consider ourselves too good to do the same for others?

There's nothing wrong with understanding a problem before we try to remedy it; indeed, being too quick to do what looks right can make things worse. But too much time spent analyzing--or, worse, complaining--only makes the problem look more and more impossible, until we are too discouraged to act at all.

Better to "give the cup of cold water" (cf. Mt. 10:42) than to fume because no one is digging a reservoir.

We debate the causes of warfare
While fresh thousands of graves are made;
We toss blame and fling accusations
And bemoan how God's standards fade;
But amid the complaints and analysis,
We're ignoring one simple fact:
That the time for talking is over,
And it's time to get up and act!

We fret over problems of living,
And we sit and we agonize
Over endless considered answers
As the days pass before our eyes;
And we put off saying what others should hear
In the name of observing tact:
But the time for thinking is over,
And it's time to get up and act!

God calls us to pray for our problems
And the needs of the world around,
For in Him is every solution,
And our help nowhere else is found;
But too often we talk till we fail to hear
When His answer comes--sure, exact--
Saying, "Bent-knee praying is over;
Now I want you to rise and act!"

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