(If you missed the title of this article, be sure to check it out. It’s not a typo.)
While others take the time to carefully consider a measured course of action, I’m usually in favor of trying something, and seeing how it turns out. Sometimes, I’m sure that we’ll get more done if we do anything, rather than nothing. In some cases, my approach works. In other cases, it’s easy to find myself well down the wrong path, or running headlong into a problem.
There are plenty of places in the Bible where we are directed to live a life of action. While doing a lot of the right things won’t get us into Heaven (only accepting Jesus’ perfect sacrifice can cover our failings), there are lots of opportunities for us to step up and do our part in the plan that God has for us.
However, just doing a bunch of random “good things” doesn’t necessarily line us up with God’s plan for us. We can run out and tackle whatever needs or injustices that we find, but we may find that we either bring embarrassment to ourselves, or do more harm than good.
For those that rush ahead, we would do well to consider this advice from Solomon:
Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
Psalms 127:1 NASB
Building a house and guarding a city aren’t inherently bad things to do. But, without God, benefits of any accomplishments we achieve are probably limited to human accolades.
Note also this Psalm, where the author called out the importance of God’s word to daily life:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Psalms 119:105 NASB
It may be subtle, and I don’t want to read too much into this, but the psalmist didn’t suggest that God handed out detailed maps of our entire lives. In the dark, a lamp or a light would just give direction for the next few steps.
1 Kings 19 tells of a prophet called Elijah, who had been working powerfully for God, but feared for his life and ran from a queen who was out to kill him. God called to Elijah, sending a windstorm, an earthquake, and a fire. After that, God called to Elijah with a quiet sound, like a whisper. At this point, Elijah spoke with God, and learned that God already had a plan. Elijah was called to appoint another prophet named Elisha, who (as some, who have read ahead in subsequent chapters, already determined) probably worked even greater things for God than Elijah had done.
Elijah ran, but when he listened to the direction of God, Elijah became part of something even greater in history.
Having said this, we don’t have an excuse to do nothing for the kingdom. I believe that much can be accomplished by trying different things, or just doing something simple, while we are waiting for God’s direction. He can easily speak to us through these things.
However, we will be most successful (in the plan that matters most) when we pause to listen to God’s direction – whether loud or soft – and only then move in that direction.