Diane and I attend Plymouth First United Methodist Church. Last Sunday, as part of her “Small Talk With Pastor Lauren,” Pastor Lauren showed the children a symbol. Immediately they all identified it as the Nike symbol. They were all equally familiar with the Nike motto “Just Do It”. That’s his motto ever since my kids wore their shoes.
Nike suggests that we don’t talk about sports, training, running or any other form of exercise, we just do them. And if you do, you need Nike equipment. Exercise is important for a healthy life, especially regular exercise. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of talk about the need for exercise, but it seems like they never get around to doing it. There’s always a reason to put it off.
Exodus 3:1-4:17 is the story of Moses’ calling. When Moses meets the Lord in the midst of a burning bush, the Lord calls Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. In response, Moses keeps finding excuses. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? (Exodus 3:11)” “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them: ‘The God of your fathers sent me to you.’ And they ask me, ‘What’s his name?’ Then what should I tell them? (Exodus 3:13) “What if they don’t believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you’?” (Exodus 4:1) “O Lord, I was never eloquent, neither in the past nor since you spoke to your servant. I am slow in speech and tongue (Exodus 4:10) “O Lord, please send someone else to do it (Exodus 4:13).
The Lord answers each of Moses’ excuses. First, God tells Moses that he will be with him. Second, God asks Moses to tell the people that “I am” sent him. To the third, God gives him a staff that becomes a serpent when thrown to the ground. God tells the fourth that he will help Moses to speak. And fifth, God says his brother Aaron can help. As I read this passage, I have always wondered why the Lord didn’t tell Moses, “Stop making excuses, just do what I ask?”
There is an old saying that our actions speak louder than our words. The book of James puts it that way. “Don’t just listen to the Word and be so deceived. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, having looked at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like” (James 1:22 ) “In the same way, faith is dead unless accompanied by deeds” (James 2:17). I John tells us: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongues, but with deeds and in truth” (I John 3:18). There is something to be said for exercising due diligence in deciding what action to take. At some point, though, it’s time to stop analyzing and planning and do something. Very often we have to make the decision to fish or cut bait.
The children who volunteered for “Small Talk with Pastor Lauren” last Sunday showed they have learned an important life lesson by responding to Pastor Lauren’s question. There are points in our lives when we need to stop talking and do something. While Nike’s goal is to sell their products, they teach us all an important life lesson with their marketing.
A biblical index of earlier articles can be found at musingsfromtheheartland.com.