On Your Mark – Get Set – Act!

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

In life we are all confronted with challenges.  We have to decide how we are going to respond to a specific challenge.  How we respond begins to define who we are.

Someone has said, “Based on the challenge, the best thing to do is the right thing.  The second best thing to do is the wrong thing.  The worst thing is to do nothing.”  Albert Einstein said, “The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm.  It is dangerous because of those who watch and do nothing!”

A lot of people like to dream and theorize and talk and offer suggestions – but productive people do something about the situation.  Each year several people get a McArthur Foundation Grant which ranges up to $175,000.  There are no strings attached.  They are called “Genius Grants.”  The term “genius” means the grants go to people who have actually done things.  “Genius” applies only to accomplishments – not to potential.

What do you need to act on today? One year from now, what are some things you will look back and wish you had started today?  James 4:17 says “Knowing what is right to do and not doing it is a sin.”  Let me meddle a little bit:

  • Maybe you need to lose weight.  Thinking about it and reading about it won’t do it.  You have to act now.
  • Maybe you need to save money for retirement, college tuition, etc.  Just thinking about it and knowing it’s a good idea won’t accomplish anything.  You need to act and start saving today.
  • What about an attitude change?  Maybe it’s something you have thought a lot about and you know you need to do.  I think attitude is more important than the reality of a situation.  You might not be able to do anything about the situation, but you can change your attitude.  The time to start is now!
  • What about forgiving someone?  Forgiving someone is essential for God’s forgiveness for us (Mat. 6:14-15), but it won’t happen until somebody takes the initiative.  The time to forgive is now.
  • What about dropping the use of profanity?  It certainly would improve your vocabulary, and you would express yourself more effectively.  You will also be a more pleasant person to be around.  The time to stop using profanity is now.
  • What about building a relationship with someone?  Talking about it won’t cut it.  The time to start is now.
  • Maybe you know someone who has a need that you can meet and you have ignored it.  (Read James 2:14-17.)  That person’s situation may not change unless you act.  Don’t just talk about it or pray about it – take the initiative – act now.

Prayer is a powerful force.  It’s essential in our lives.  But be careful – prayer sometimes can be a substitute for action.  It’s easier to pray about something than to act on it.  When Moses was leading the children of Israel, they came up against the Red Sea.  Pharaoh’s army was closing in.  Moses’ people were organizing a “Back to Egypt” committee.  Then God said to Moses, “Quit praying and get the people moving forward. March!” (Ex. 14:15 NLB).

Think about all the things you need to start today that will make you a better person one year from now.  You won’t be better because you thought about them – but because you acted on them.

On your mark – get set – act!

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