by: Topher Wiles
Gary shocked me and complimented my Tennessee roots; here’s the story about how he did it. Recently when I was out of state, my vehicle picked up an unfamiliar passenger, a middle aged man with that common name of Gary. When Ashley spotted him, good ole Gary was stumbling and staggering around worse than a teenager waking up for school the morning after summer break. While Ashley has never graced a bar with her presence or ever been drunk herself, the signs of inebriation were so obvious to her she knew the man to be in great need of getting off the roadway.
Gary was skeptical as he quickly interrogated me as to the purpose of my stop. I tried explaining that we just wanted to help and when he found out I served as a minister in a church he proudly declared, “I’m a religious man! I have crosses and Bibles all over my house. I’m a religious man!” His declaration caused me to wonder, “I have crosses and Bibles too. Does carrying a cross or possessing a Bible on the shelf declare one as religious?”
Gary unknowingly answered the question himself after my family taxied him the final mile to his home. My new middle aged passenger made the rather astute evaluation when he said, “You’re not from here are you?” I confessed my middle Tennessee boy origins which prompted his reply, “I thought so, nobody from here would DO what you just did.”
While I disagree with Gary’s evaluation of his local populace around him, he did draw a very distinct difference between us and the cross and Bible owners he’s used to. The difference is in what we DO.
Right now, my social media feeds are still filled with people promoting lots of opinions and agendas. Right now, many of them sound right and righteous in nature. How do you and I determine who is worthwhile to listen to, to model our lives after, to go to for guidance when the world around us seems to crumble? I submit that you and your family should follow people who are DOers. I have learned this truth in life that I also teach my family. It’s not what you say in life that changes people, it is what you do that makes a difference. As a guy that invests inordinate amounts of time crafting what to say, these words about focusing on DOing are extremely important. I’m not the only one that believes this way.
Fred Rogers is often attributed with pointing others toward the DOers, or the helpers in life. He said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
Jesus said much the same thing. My morning Bible reading chauffeured my mental travels across Luke 10 and the parable of the Good Samaritan. Remember, this parable was given as a response to when the expert of the law asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” After the expert summed up the law with “Love the Lord your God… and Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus replied with “DO this and you will live.” Then Jesus gave this parable about a priest, Levite, and Samaritan who walked by a broken man, with the hated Samaritan being the only one who did something to help. At the conclusion of the parable the expert declared the one who had mercy was the neighbor to the hurt man. Jesus taught him to be more than just an “expert in the law.” Jesus instructed him to “Go and DO the same.”
What separates us from the rest of the “experts” of the world, whether religious, political, or social? What makes us and our families different from those who claim to know scripture, claim to know the police force, and claim to know how to respond to racial tensions? What sets you apart is not what you believe or what you say, but what you do. Jesus, police forces, minority groups, and even my passenger Gary would all agree. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Do something to show you care.
What have you DOne? What are you DOing? What are you and your family planning to DO to love God and your neighbors? Really, spend time thinking about those questions for you and your family. Formulate a reply to them. After answering those questions, go and DO in the name of Christ. You’ll be glad you did.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 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 1:22-25
The word “forte” comes from the latin word “fortis” meaning strength. Our weekly Family Forte article in The Expositor is the effort of family at Central Church of Christ to give your family the love, care, and attention it needs to become a stronger version of itself. If we can help you in any way, please contact us at Central Church of Christ through email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through our website, www.spartacoc.com.