Sunday, August 4, 2013

Call of Duty

Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.

-- Isaiah 1:17    

A vital part of the human experience involves situations that call on us to do the right thing--even if it could be costly, unpopular, uncomfortable or inconvenient. For example, a judge in western Pennsylvania recently decided to spend the day in the county courthouse. While that sounds like it should have been business as usual for her, Judge Linda Fleming happened to join 119 of her fellow citizens who had also reported for jury duty. In the end, she wasn't seated as a juror because an attorney objected to her presence in that capacity. Nevertheless, Judge Fleming was determined to do her civic duty and serve--or at least make herself available--rather than use her position as an excuse to avoid it.

Doing the right thing isn't just the right thing to do, it's also a biblical principle. As James 4:17 puts it, "So whoeverSalute knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."

There are times when doing the right thing takes courage. We might never face a powerful enemy on the battlefield, but we might take on different kinds of opponents--like injustice, crime or discrimination--that we have no hope of defeating on our own. The good news for Christ-followers is that we're called by our Creator to be strong and brave. And we're not alone against what might threaten us. In fact, we can be encouraged by all the average people (like you and me) who God has empowered to do the extraordinary against overwhelming odds.

For example, David--then an obscure shepherd boy--killed the giant Goliath with a single well-placed stone from his slingshot. It was this same shepherd boy who eventually became King of Israel and the one God called "a man after My own heart." Likewise, the Apostle Peter literally dove into the deep end when he accepted Jesus' call to walk on the water. After Peter began to doubt, he began to sink. But Jesus saved him once His struggling follower called out in faith. This same follower--who would eventually deny Jesus to others three times--ultimately became a bold preacher of what the Book of Acts describes as The Way (the Good News about his Savior, Jesus Christ). Two books of the New Testament also bear Peter's name.

As Christ followers, we can take heart. It might be a scary world out there, but God doesn't expect us to solve all the world's problems. Instead, it's by seeking and using His power in faith that we can make a world of difference. And it all starts when we do the right thing.

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