Deciding vs. Doing
I read a short thought experiment the other day that made me laugh and think. Here you go:
Ten birds are sitting on a wire. Two decide to fly away. How many are left?
The answer? Ten.
Yes, you can take it as a bit of a trick question. But, if you read it honestly and correctly, there is nothing about any of the birds actually flying away. Two just decided to.
I can't tell you how many times I've decided to write a 'thank you' note a day, stop eating caramel popcorn, or read the Bible every morning. Just because you’ve decided something doesn’t mean you are actually doing it.
You've probably heard your mom say 'Be nicer to your little brother' or 'Eat your vegetables.' Really easy to hear. Logically, pretty easy to agree with. However, just because you hear something that makes sense in the long run, doesn't mean you'll actually do it.
Jesus said something pretty powerful to this point. In the 8th chapter of Luke, Jesus is surrounded by people searching for his blessing, his healing, his love. There are so many around him that his mother and brothers, who've just arrived, can’t get to him.
Alerted to this fact by his disciples, Jesus responds, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.’ Luke 8:21 (emphasis added.)
It’s that last part that trips us up, isn’t it? The doing. The action. The behavior.
We have a saying at our summer camp – we only have good kids. Sometimes their behavior needs to be modified. God made us good. It's the world and our egos that get in the way, leading to actions which God will forgive... though he expects better.
We know what God wants from us: to love Him with everything we've got and to treat our neighbor the same way.
That’s the measuring stick we’ve been given. Two simple boxes to check. Not so easy to do, though, once you add in what the world and your ego wants.
So, how do we flip this script? How do we move forward doing more of what God wants and less of what he doesn't?
There’s a helpful quote from Jerry Sternin making the rounds right now. It goes something like this:
It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than think your way into a new way of acting.
If we want to grow closer to Jesus as men, we simply need to hear his commands… and do them.
Stop thinking about it. Just pick something Jesus would want you to do and go do it. There are lots of options: Spend time with someone who needs some help. Go cut a widows lawn for her. Donate your gently used clothing to a homeless shelter. Help serve a meal to those who are hungry.
Young men, the more we help those around us, the closer we are to that person whom God made us to be.
It really is that simple.
Have a great week.
Photo by Ridham Nagralawala on Unsplash