A few weeks ago, I got in a IM conversation with a friend about how frustrated I get when bible verses become pithy cliches, bearing little resemblance to the writers’ meaning in context. After I had taken my frustration out on my MacBook Pro Keyboard, my friend suggested that there had to be a blog or sermon series in there somewhere. So, this week, I will be sharing about five Bible verses that I often hear people list as their favorites. We will explore how these five verses (well four verses and one mythical verse) can be accurately applied to our lives. I hope you will check back everyday, subscribe to the blog to get the posts via email or your blogreader, and most of all, share them with friends.
The first verse that we will tackle is a “verse” of mythical origins. I have heard people state that their favorite verse is “God helps those who help themselves.” However, if you go searching your concordance or Biblegateway.com, you will strike out on your pursuit. This phrase does not have its origins in the Scripture, but in the pen of Benjamin Franklin. In this video, Stephen Colbert takes Bill O’Reilly for wrongly attributing this verse (amongst other things).
Not only is the verse found nowhere in the Bible, it is an idea that runs counter to the Bible as a whole. The essence of this verse is that if you work hard and take care of your own business, God will intervene where necessary. In other words, do your job and God will do his. While we have responsibilities as those who bear the image of God, God is NOT OBLIGATED to intervene in our lives or act in prescribed ways, simply because we did our part. God does not owe us….anything. He is not in our debt; we are in His.
Yet, God does call us to take responsibility for our lives. To make choices. To build habits. To take action and not rest on our laurels, expecting Him to pave a proverbial bed of roses to our dreams or the achievement of our perfect plans. We will be held accountable for what we do with the time, talent, money, and influence we have. To put a new spin on words I heard a pastor named Andy Stanley say four years ago at the Catalyst Conference, “Your life is a stewardship. It is temporary and you will be held accountable.”
As you put your 2011 resolutions into action, as you take a new stab at the pursuits you knew needed to be engaged in November, as you do the next right thing that you know to do, I want to challenge you to love, think and serve like Jesus this year. Not because God will then be obligated to do as you say and wish. I believe loving, thinking, and serving like Jesus will lead you into the life God called you to live. A life that you will be proud to look back on with no regrets.