Why good people do nothing: It hurts falling off your bike!


I remember teaching my eldest son to ride his bike. Exhausted, running behind him with my hand on the seat, I struggled to catch my breath, all while trying to hold him up.

It was inevitable. My exhaustion pushed me to trust in his ability before he was truly ready. As soon as I let go, to my amazement, he took off. Ten, even twenty yards out, he was doing great. Then, all of a sudden, BOOM! He hit the ground. With skinned knees tears, he yelled for dad. I found myself running, yet again.

It’s exhausting teaching kids to ride a bike.

Over time, and a few more bloody knees, he finally figured it out and the neighborhood became his playground.  His posse of 2nd and 3rd graders now ruled the suburban streets.

It’s interesting. Although he is quite a talented bike rider now, he knows almost nothing about all the intricate laws of nature and the creative engineering that went into his bike ride. The countless brilliant men that developed the bicycle, their stories, experiences, and the process of bike creation have never entered into his little mind. He just likes to ride.

The other day I was talking to some people about us, as Christians, needing to be more involved in our community. We need to volunteer with the poor and serve those who are in need and hurting. I mentioned that maybe we need to start more training classes to create a place where we can teach and prepare people about every aspect of serving others. A lady who works for me piped up and said, “We don’t need another training class, we need to just do it!”

It amazes me how modern-day Christians have become worshipers of evaluation. As a graduate student myself, I will absolutely agree that study is extremely important. The problem is arises with Christians who have spent much of their spiritual lives reading about those who have developed ways to serve and studying all the intricate nuances of having conversations with people who may be hurting. They may read about how to balance our lives when we begin to serve, so that we don’t burn out. Then, when we finally have the courage to serve, or “ride the bike,” and inevitably fall and skin our emotional knee, we abandon service and proclaim, “See, I told you I wasn’t ready!”

The Bible says that those who know the good they ought to do, and don’t, commit a sin. Maybe some Christians who are obsessed with analysis alone are living in…. well, we will just let James 4:17 fill in the blank.

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