Are You Dead?

Several years ago, one of my sisters received a startling letter from our local bank. It had a simple question for her:

“Are you dead?”

Okay, the bank wasn’t exactly that blunt, but that was the gist of their message. Evidently, my sister (who was quite young at the time) hadn’t deposited money into her account for a couple of years, so the bank was checking to make sure everything was okay. They wanted to make sure they hadn’t lost a client. The lack of activity in her account had raised some red flags.

Do you think we suffer from similar inactivity in a spiritual sense?

Here’s the thing. As Christians, we can easily get all pleased with ourselves when we don’t do certain bad things. We have a mental checklist of taboo activities to avoid at all costs, and—I’m speaking from personal experience here—we feel good about ourselves when we follow that checklist.

Don’t swear? Check.

Don’t do drugs? Check.

Don’t sleep around? Check.

Don’t watch R-rated movies? Check.

Etc.

Certainly, those are admirable standards. But, come on. If we’re satisfied with ourselves just because we don’t do certain bad things, then that’s a great recipe for resting on our laurels and living pathetically tepid, forgettable, uninspiring lives. Here’s a radical thought: Don’t just avoid bad things. Do good, bold, worthwhile things!

Don’t be satisfied with nothing. After all, not doing things is easy. Anyone can do that. A dead body can do that. Are our standards really that low? Are we really that timid?

Read Hebrews 11. It doesn’t say, “By faith Abraham did not use foul language,” or, “By faith Joseph did not do bad things.” No, of course not! The chapter is all about the outstanding things courageous men and women did by faith. It’s not about what they didn’t do.

Teddy Roosevelt once said:

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

Let’s not be like my sister and her bank account. Let’s not be so hopelessly complacent and chronically inactive that God thinks, “Um, hello? You okay? I’ve noticed you’ve been pretty quiet down there.” Instead, let’s strive on. Press forward. Be active.

You are not dead; you are alive! God has given you the capacity to grow, to function, to live! Don’t waste it!

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight… | Hebrews 11:32-34

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