< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: It’s All about the Effort

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It’s All about the Effort

I’ve been reading the book March
by Geraldine Brooks. It’s not a Christian book, but it is our town’s Big Read for 2009. There was one paragraph in there that really struck me. It seems to answer all the questions people ask about why we keep striving when God knows the outcome. We know there won’t be permanent peace in the Middle East until Christ comes back. Why do we keep trying? We know there will be trials and disasters and evil in this world.

In this book Mr. March was in the hospital wounded during the Civil War. He was in despair because he didn’t believe in killing people or war. He was a chaplain. When someone passed him a gun to defend a group of free slaves he didn’t use it. Many died and others were taken back into captivity. This was where he was wounded.

He told his wife who had traveled to the hospital to be with him, “I might have saved them. I valued my principles more than I valued their lives!” His wife replied, “You are not God. You do not determine the outcome. The outcome is not the point.”

He asked, “Then what is the point?”

His wife answered, “The point is the effort. That you believing what you believed – what you sincerely believed, including the commandment “thou shalt not kill” – acted upon it. To believe, to act, and to have events confound you – I grant you, that is hard to bear. But to believe and not to act, or to act in a way that every fiber of your soul held was wrong – that would have been reprehensible.”

That is so true! As Christians we aren’t called to be successful. Just faithful. Christ gave us an example of how to live our lives. The Bible spells out our beliefs and our marching orders. We just need to live each day according to those directions and God will take care of the rest!

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