Don't sing it, bring it!

Several years ago I became the new youth pastor at a church in Yadkinville, NC. In case you've never heard of Yadkinville or you have no idea how to pronounce it, the "d" is silent and the "i" is more like a hard "u", so it's pronounced "Ya-kun-vull" by those who really know who to speak Yadkin-ese, the local dialect there. Anyhow, the students there were all awesome and a little on the country side, which was cool because it challenged me to be a little less "city" and uptight about certain things.

Early on in my time of service there, I realized that I had a group of guys that were gifted at talking junk. You know, the kind where you playfully goad other people verbally to engage in physical challenges, all the while strutting like a peacock and "bowing up" to them. If you don't understand, then you have to accept that it's a guy thing and it's just what we do at times.

There was one kid in the group who was small for his age, but he made up for it with his vocal abilities. And boy, was he country. When he spoke, you could almost see the syrup dripping from the air. His one liners were classic as well - he would threaten to "Put a knot on the side of your head so big a calf could suck on it!" or "Knock your teeth so far down your throat you've got to drop your breeches to chew your food!" This kid was funny with his junk talking, but also a bit annoying at times because he just never seemed to stop. I loved him anyway. Most of the time.

One of this young man's favorite sayings, however, was in response to junk talk that other people delivered to him. If I ever called his bluff or threatened to hang him out of the window by his toes - not that I ever did threaten to do that, necessarily - he would come back with this line: "Don't sing it, bring it!" In other words, put your money where your mouth is. Funny how he never backed up his bravado but, then again, he was all bark and no bite himself.

Don't sing it, bring it! This is a call to action to stop talking and start doing. It's easy to talk about all sorts of things that you are going to do in your life - do better in school, make necessary lifestyle changes, be a more committed spouse, make more of a difference in this world for Jesus - but when it actually comes down to fulfilling those words, well, that's when it gets hard. It's easy to say it, yet much harder to do it. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Think about politicians. Okay, don't think about them if you can, but that's gonna be hard because that's all we see and hear on the news today. Where was I? Oh yeah, politicians. They are the masters at saying whatever it is that they think you want to hear just so that they can win your vote, and then when they take office they are notorious for not delivering on their promises. They know how to sing it but not bring it.

The same is true of many of us who are followers of Jesus. Have you ever read something in the Bible or been given a challenge in a message that truly stirred your heart and you committed right then and there to live out that truth, only to fizzle out later in the day? I have. Or how many times have you lifted your voice in worship to an amazing God who you had no trouble praising with your lips yet never could seem to glorify with your actions? Been there, done that.

Why is it so hard to back up the words that we say? It might be because we overestimate our own abilities while at the same time underestimating the power and nature of God. You see, our God is a God of action, not merely words. When He proclaimed something in the Bible, it was always because He was about to act. There was no doubt that when He said it, those things would happen.

James knew this about God and he also knew that we were weak in the area of faithfully doing what we said we were going to do. Look at what he so skillfully writes in James 2:14-27
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Do you see what James is saying? If we say it but don't do it, then our faith is essentially useless. It's dead. That puts most of us in a bit of a pickle, because we've said and committed to certain things for God in our faith that in the end we've failed to actually do. And when we "sing it but don't bring it" for God, then it affects not just our relationship with Him, but our relationships with others suffer as well because they miss out on the work that God wants to do through us for their benefit.

Since it's almost election season, I vote that we commit to be people of action and not merely words. If you don't think you can follow through, then don't say that you'll do it. But if you do lift up your voice to the Lord in praise, or have your heart stirred by the Holy Spirit to make changes in your life, or you believe that you are being compelled to live that life on mission that God has called you to, then don't sit on that. Do it.

Acknowledge that a living faith is one that is backed up by action. Change your ways. Repent of the inaction of your past. And do what you know you should do for the glory of God. Bring it, don't just sing it. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you Sterling your post was a real blessing for me.

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