A Failure to Do

What does it mean to be a Christian? It is about who you are, but it is also about what you do with what you have. Of course, who you are directly influences how a person views what he or she has power and control over.

Paul describes the life of Jesus in Philippians 2:5-8.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Jesus embodied the virtue of humility, but what allowed him to be humble? He was residing in heaven but chose to leave and come to earth. He was God, but he took on flesh and became a human being. He had power over all things, but he endured death on a cross. Jesus was humble because of what he did with the great powers and abilities he possessed.

A person cannot be humble with what he or she does not have. I may imagine what I would do if I suddenly inherited a large sum of money or were given a powerful position, but these imaginary exercises do me little good because it is unlikely I will find myself in one of these situations. Instead, I should imagine what I could do with what I have power and control over now, and then begin to implement these practices in my life.

To be a Christian is to be a Christian with what you have. A person may think to themselves, “I would be generous if I were wealthy.” Another person may think, “If I were given great power, then I would not be a tyrant. I would be fair, just, and humble.” There is a temptation to put off Christian virtues until we have significant resources available to us, but we all possess the resources to be generous, just, and humble right now.

Being humble with a little or a lot does not matter all that much. It is true people tend to notice big gifts of generosity more than small ones, but it is the small ones that make life meaningful. It is the everyday graces that bring joy to your life and the lives of others. A friend who is willing to listen, an invitation to dinner, a kind word are little things that sometimes mean the world to the people receiving them.

It is through everyday graces that people see Jesus in us. Jesus does not list grand acts of generosity in Matthew 25. He lists things that nearly everyone can do. You can provide a meal, give a cup of water, make a visit, etc. If all you have is two mites, then figure out how to use those two mites to love God and love others.

You have the power, ability, and resources to bless someone today. Instead of thinking big, you need first to think small. You need to imagine how you will touch someone’s life with what you have and do it. You must consider how to be generous, just, humble, compassionate, etc. with the things under your power and control. Don’t feel overwhelmed by what you don’t have. God has given you all you need. Take it and do something exceptional.

Scott Elliott is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and Austin Graduate School of Theology. He lives in La Grange, TX and is the minister for the La Grange Church of Christ. He is married and has two sons. He enjoys writing about the Christian faith and posting the occasional film review. His articles and reviews have appeared in RELEVANT magazine, Englewood Review of Books, and other publications.

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