Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Being and Doing

Today I was reading the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. I know what you're thinking - "Wow, Andrew...that sounds...just swell. You are reading the dictionary. Good for you." Well I came across these words for the article on Discipleship by Michael Wilkins. He points out that Luke had a unique way of describing discipleship. I'll let you decide on whether it is interesting or not. The first is as Followers on the Way:
For Luke, salvation itself is “the way” , a pattern of life revealed by God. This idea of salvation as a “way” leads in time to calling the Christian community “the Way” (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22), an early designation or title for the organized community of disciples, which eventually is known as “the church.” From the Lukan perspective, disciples must enter into and stride along that Way in the footsteps of their Master.
This is the call and the challenge to walk along the same path that has been set before us by Christ. It points to a life marked by sacrifice. This is how he continues in the article as he writes about the second aspect Traveling Along the Way:
Luke specifies that self-denial, taking up the cross and following Jesus not only characterizes entrance into the Way but life on the Way. With the addition of “each day” to the cross-bearing proclamation, the Lukan Jesus calls for daily self-denial, daily bearing one’s cross and daily following in the footsteps of the Master (cf. 9:23; Mk 8:34). Life on the Way involves being doers of the Word (11:27–28), because not all who are walking on the Way truly belong to the Way. Public statements of commitment must be judged by the fruit of one’s life (6:43–49; 19:11–27). That fruit consists, at least in part, in loving and doing good to others (6:17–36), proper stewardship of material possessions (6:35; 8:3), servanthood (22:24–30), prayer (10:2; 11:1; 18:1–8) and testimony to the Way (9:1–6; 10:1–12, 17–20; 12:8–12; 14:23–24; 24:44–49).
I was challenged with one thought after reading this: I talk so often of being in the Word daily, but I rarely ever talk about doing the Word daily. I get to school fairly early so I can read The Script, but my heart is stirred to wonder about the possibilities of daily doing the Word each day afresh. I don't think this means that I am not doing the Word daily. But how often do I and others tell people, "Commit to reading the Word daily"? I'm all about that. I just don't know the last time I told somebody, "Commit to doing the Word daily"? I believe the question of doing the Word needs to fall into the series of questions I have been trained or trained myself to ask daily:

Will I get out of bed this morning?
Will I shower this morning?
Will I brush my teeth?
Will I make coffee? Lunch?
Will I study after class?
Will I read God's Word today?
Will I do God's Word today?

For us all, this may not require any real change in our daily activities or lifestyle. Or maybe it will. Maybe it will radically alter how we pray each day, interact with friends and strangers, steward money, rest, and read God's Word. All I'm suggesting is that our approach to God's Word requires more thoughtfulness and intentionality than we give.

I believe reading the Word will inform how I do the Word. I am proposing for myself and whoever reads this that we take real action toward being as committed to doing the Word as we are to being in the Word.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. -James 1:23-25
By His Grace.

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