You may already know this about me by now, but I love learning and thinking. Give me something provocative to think about and I am happy for hours. I love it so much that I can easily mistake learning for doing. I can convince myself that if I am learning something then I am doing something. And in a way that is true. Learning is incredibly valuable. Insights often stimulate action – but not always. Learn and do!
Jesus told a story at the end of the Sermon on the Mount that is often misunderstood. He said there was a wise and a foolish man who built houses, one on rock and one on sand. When the storms came (notice He said when, not if), the house built on sand was destroyed and the house built on rock survived.
Here’s where most people jump to interpret the story as urging us to build our lives on a foundation of rock (Jesus) instead of on sand (other things). But this is not what Jesus says. What He says is that the wise man and foolish man are identical except in one way. The wise man and foolish man both hear the Word. The wise man and foolish man both know what they should do. The one difference is that the wise man acts on what he knows he should do, and the foolish man does not act on what he knows he should do.
Doing is the difference!
Life Mission is fun to talk about. It is encouraging to contemplate our gifts and strengths, and imagine our best coming to life. The risk is that we just talk. If we work to discern with God His call on our life and don’t act on that calling, we have become the foolish man. Even if we are not sure exactly what our calling is, if we do not act on what we do know, we are the foolish man.
We know plenty. Everyone could easily make a list of 10 things that we know would improve our lives. We know many ways we could grow closer to God. We have learned enough to live many lifetimes. Coming from one who loves to think, the question I have to challenge myself with often is “so what?” What am I going to do about what I have learned?
Learning and doing makes us wise. Learning and not doing makes us foolish.
What is one thing that you know you should do right now? It may be a discipline to start or a habit to stop. It may be a conversation to have or a risk to take. Thinking and discerning have their place. Remember, though, doing makes the difference!