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by Dr. Bill Denton


“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27, NASV)

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually try to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring reality, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. — Theodore Roosevelt

    I have made an observation. The only people who ever achieve anything are those who act. OK, so you think that’s not so profound. Think again. I have a reason for making this statement, so I’ll share my thinking with you.

We are faced with two very different kinds of people when it comes to spiritual matters
    It appears to me that we are faced with two very different kinds of people when it comes to spiritual matters, including growing a church or accomplishing God’s will in the world. The first group is made up of people who have a lot of things to say. They can often tell you exactly how things ought to be. They are quick and sharp to criticize. If you listen to them, and accept what they say, you might get the idea that these people are real experts in the Bible, in spiritual wisdom, and they often insist that you treat them accordingly. But this group of people is too often missing one vital element, one telling essential to any real wisdom. They don’t do much. They don’t build great churches, they don’t accomplish great works, they have no history of accomplishment.

    The second group is very different. They often have a great deal to say, like the first group, but the content of what they offer is startlingly different. They don’t spend much time criticizing others, complaining about things, or contributing general gripes. When they do speak, they show that they’ve put significant thought into things, and have come up with one or more plans of action. Generally speaking, they aren’t concerned about being considered an expert in anything, but they are concerned about doing something positive and effective. These people put great emphasis on that element so frequently missing from the first group: they are full of action. These are the people who build, create, design, and get things done. They probably make more mistakes than the first group, but only because they are willing to act and not “arm chair quarterback” everyone else. This kind of person is the one who is actually “in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.”

    Jesus said that the truly wise man was the fellow who heard, then did what he learned. Even Teddy Roosevelt appreciated those who toss their hat into the arena, who gets his face sweaty and bloody through action. If you really want to understand the call of the Christian life, understand that it’s not the call to be an academic expert or outside consultant. It’s a call to learn, then live. It’s a call to act. The wise man builds a house on a rock by doing what he learns from Jesus. So let’s get into that arena and get things done for the Lord!

      © Copyright 2001, Dr. Bill Denton, CrossTies, All Rights Reserved. Articles may not be reprinted in any “for profit” publication without further permission by the author. Articles may be freely distributed via e-mail, reprinted in church bulletins or in other non-profit publications without further permission. Please keep this copyright and Web Site information intact with copied articles.

      Title: ""
      Author: Dr. Bill Denton
      Publication Date: October 12, 2001


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