There was a time when action was the only way to evaluate if a person truly means or believes what they say. I do not know when that time was, but I am certain that time is not the year 2017. No one is evaluated on what they do anymore, people are evaluated on what they say or portray. Which brings the question then, why do we like the idea of something and not the thing itself? We like the idea of love, care, justice, happiness, health, wealth and the list goes on.
A few days ago I got some horrific news, a very close friend of mine lost his girlfriend. She was involved in a car accident, the vehicle she was in collided head on with a truck. You can imagine the vivid horror of that happening to your loved one, or even to yourself.
I called him immediately to hear how he was doing, it must have been a shocking and a confusing time for him because I was also involved in a terrible vehicle accident just a few days prior to that.
Now what does the accident have to do with action. The passing on of my friend’s lady was once again another one of the critical observations that I have been paying attention to in the last 5 years. We are in an era where people would text you, like your Social Media post, create a #Hashtag and even change their profile pictures to sympathise with you. Yet none of these things ever lead to any meaningful action that demonstrates that these people really care about the magnitude of the event. My friend got hundreds of likes and condolences on Facebook, yet when I speak to him on the phone he tells me that he is sitting alone at home mourning.
It seems like we seek relationships without the responsibility and work that is required to sustain them. We want marriage without having to keep our vows, we want kids without the responsibility and sacrifice that comes with raising kids. We want God, without having to live under the Lordship of a mighty ruler of the universe. So why do we like the idea of something but not necessarily the thing itself.
It boils down to one thing, action or practicing what you preach is exponentially harder and more demanding than the act of talking. There is a lot less responsibility and pressure in talking or sending a text message than in living up to the profession. How many people do you know that are always talking about things that they themselves are not even close to doing? For example, young people talking about not finding the right partner, yet they don’t want the responsibility of being the right person to someone else. Christians talking about reaching the world, yet 10 years passes and there’s still prayers, strategies and talks about reaching the world.
The phenomenon of “no action and more talk” is shockingly more prevalent in the Church. The one place where there ought to be some consistency between faith and lifestyle. Why is there such an appalling disparity between what we profess and how we live in the Church? It is for the exact same reason, it is really hard to practice and live what you profess. It is very hard to consistently live up to your promises and vows. The Christian faith is constantly contradicting our nature, our desires and our dreams. It is an inconvenience to truly love God with all your heart and all your mind, it is an inconvenience to truly love your neighbours. These inconveniences are not compatible with our hedonistic, self-indulgent lifestyles and comforts. However, these are just symptoms of the real problem.
The real problem is that we have strayed far away from God, we act like don’t need Him or want Him in our lives, we don’t appreciate him for the smallest blessings like the breath of air and life. All our achievements and societal gains enable us to navigate life without the need to bow before him daily for our protection and provision. Yet we need him, because only he can enable us to live what we profess. Only He can allow us to demonstrate to the world that we are redeemed servants. Only Him can allow us to truly demonstrate to our communities that loving God and loving your neighbour is not just mere words, it leads to action, and that is the kind of action that overwhelms the world.