Doing What's Right Takes Faith


When was the last time you dropped your jaw in shock - at something good? When was the last time you dropped your jaw in church? When was the last time you did something so shocking that your friends couldn't believe it? I'm talking about something good. Can't remember?

It's funny that almost everything Jesus did was shocking to someone, but the things we do very seldom are. He shocked Joseph and Mary when He was twelve by being in the Temple, about His Father's business, when they thought He ought to be in the caravan heading home with everyone else. He shocked the hometown crowd in the synagogue at the beginning of His ministry – so much so that they wanted to take Him out and stone Him. He was constantly shocking the Pharisees, what with doing things on the Sabbath that they had forbidden. He shocked when He healed a man born blind. He shocked when He embraced a leper. He shocked when He stilled the storm. He shocked when He fed 5,000. He shocked when He raised Lazarus from the dead. He shocked when He turned over the tables of the money changers in the Temple. He shocked when He equated Himself with God. I wonder how many times He had to say to someone, "Close your mouth."

When was the last time you shocked someone – in a good way?

It wasn't just Jesus. Moses shocked Pharaoh, the Egyptians and the Children of Israel many, many times. Joshua shocked the inhabitants of Jericho. King David shocked pretty much everyone. Daniel shocked the Babylonians. The prophets made a career out of shocking Israel and Judah – so much so, that they killed all but a handful of them. Peter shocked the people in the Temple on the Day of Pentecost. Paul shocked the Pharisees, the Romans and even the Church. St. Patrick shocked the inhabitants of Ireland and the leaders of the Church. Martin Luther shocked the Church so much that it split apart. George Washington shocked Great Britain – so did William Wilberforce – so did Mahatma Ghandi. There are missionaries and martyrs today that are shocking the world by giving everything for Christ.

When was the last time you shocked someone – in a good way?

It isn't easy shocking people in a society where we're concerned about what people think and being politically correct. What do you do to shock a society that is half asleep? God used to send prophets to such societies. That's why He sent Jonah to Nineveh; only, it was Jonah that had the shock of his life. But we've pretty much outlawed prophets nowadays - even in the Church. So, what do you say to people who already think they have their act together, as most of us do? Jesus dealt with that problem when He spoke with the rich young ruler. He thought he was doing pretty well; until Jesus told him he needed to sell all his possessions, give the money to the poor, and follow Him. That shocked him; but he needed to be shocked. We all do, because we are all pretty much complacent in our present condition, unless there is someone in our lives that is making things uncomfortable for us - the way Jesus did with everybody, the way He still does.

What would it take to shock us today – in a good way?

What about Bill Gates giving away his money to the poor? Too far fetched? Scrooge did it – why not Gates? How about the fall of communism? The Berlin Wall came down once. It can happen again with other walls in other parts of the world – even a certain so-called "Great" one. How about Muslims embracing Christians? Ever heard of Afghanistan and Iraq? What about Christians loving their enemies? That would shock people, wouldn't it? What about just brother loving brother? How about an alcoholic father turning away from his booze, or a drug-addicted son turning away from his dope? How about the porn-addicted husband and the food-addicted wife giving their bodies back to Christ? Shocking. The cheating businessman confessing his wrongs and making it up to his customers? The dishonest politician coming clean? The self-indulgent youth becoming a self-sacrificing volunteer? You shocked yet? Well then, what about you not being "you" anymore?

What would it take to shock us today – in a good way?

That's what Jesus does when He comes into someone's life: He shocks them. He shocks them into reality. He turns them around 180 degrees, which would shock anyone. The lame walk, the mute speak, the blind see, thieves become honest, liars tell the truth, cheats play fair. That is the shocking news of the Gospel. If that were what we were living on a daily basis, wouldn't people be shocked? Are we so much better than the rich young man that there is nothing Christ can say to us that will shock us? Is there nothing we can do, right now, that will make such a difference in someone else's life that those around us will be shocked? I'll bet there is. I'll bet that God is not out of miracles. I'll bet He is still in the business of turning things around 180 degrees. But it takes our willingness to do something that might shock someone else, and even ourselves.

Are we willing? To be shocking?

I'm sure that when Naaman, the great Syrian captain, bathed in the dirty waters of the Jordan to heal his leprosy, mouths dropped. That's not something a man of power and authority would normally do in those days. It was very humbling. But because he humbled himself by doing what the prophet Elisha asked – even though he didn't want to – God honored him. He did the unthinkable, the unexpected. He went out on a limb for God, so God went out on a limb for him. He did a 180 degree turn in his lifestyle, so God did a 180 degree turn in his life.

You know, it doesn't take much to shock people, even ourselves – just a 180 degree turn.

What would it take for the jaws of the people in your life to drop? What would it take for you to do a 180 degree turn in just one area of your life?

Shock someone today. Do the unexpected.


Waitsel Smith, May 16, 2008

Text © 2008 Waitsel Smith. All rights reserved.

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