Years ago I ran across a German proverb that says, “Begin to weave and God will give the thread.” I always thought that was an extremely good way to look at life. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that faith is the “evidence of things not seen.” Faith sees what others can’t and acts accordingly. Faith thus is not a feeling but an action. You can see that clearly if you read through the rest of Hebrews 11. The heroes mentioned were men and women who did something. By faith . . .
Abel offered a better sacrifice,
Noah built the Ark,
Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees,
Sarah received power to conceive Isaac,
Abraham offered Isaac,
Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau,
Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph,
Joseph gave instructions regarding his bones,
Moses’ parents hid him,
Moses left Egypt,
Moses kept the passover,
Joshua and his people marched around Jericho, and
Rahab hid the spies.
There are many other examples in the chapter. Gideon defeated the Midianites, Samson defeated the Philistines, David defeated Goliath. The stories go on and on. Why did God honor these valiant men and women?
Because they did something.
They didn’t just sit around moping and complaining and dreaming. Consider this fact. Dreaming is good if your dreams lead you to action, but dreams can be a substitute for doing the hard work that needs to be done today. A few months ago I watched Mel Gibson being interviewed about what he learned from his recent stint in rehab. After saying the usual things about living one day at a time, he added a profound insight. “You can’t live in the future. The future’s a terrible place to live.”
He’s right. Dreaming too much about the future can stop you from picking up your hammer and building the ark. Dreaming too much about leaving Egypt can actually make you unready to leave when the time comes to cross the Red Sea. You can’t defeat Goliath while you’re tending sheep in Bethlehem. At some point you’ve got to go down into the valley, pick up five smooth stones, and face the giant alone.
Don’t get me wrong. Dreaming is good, but it can be debilitating. Sooner or later (usually sooner) you’ve got to act. The ark won’t build itself, the walls won’t fall if you don’t march around Jericho, and the bad guys will keep on coming until you, like Jehoshaphat, put the male singers at the head of the army and march out to meet them. It’s only when you get there that you can “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”
What is faith? It is belief plus unbelief and acting on the belief part. Until you act, your faith is purely theoretical. Once you take a tiny step in the right direction, amazing things begin to happen.
If you wait until you have the future figured out, you’ll wait forever, and you won’t accomplish anything with your life.
Faith sees the unseen.
Faith takes action.
Faith does something.
Passive faith is a contradiction in terms. Begin to weave and God will give the thread.