I once heard a story about a passive Quaker who had a cantankerous milk cow. Every time he tried to milk that cow, the cow would give him trouble. One particular morning, as he was trying to get milk, the cow kicked over the milk bucket and spilled it all over the Quaker.
Being the passive man he was, the Quaker didn't say a word and just began milking again. This time, the cow reared back and kicked him all the way across the room! The ruffled Quaker got back up and finally decided he'd had enough.
He walked over to the cow and said, "You know that I am a Quaker!"
The cow, of course, said nothing.
"Therefore, I cannot strike you, nor can I curse you," he said, "but I can sell you to a Baptist who will!"
It's a humorous little story, but there's a truth about passivity here that I think we'd all do well to think about in our daily lives.
In the Christian life, you and I are called not to be passive, but to be active for the cause of Christ. Take a look at the words of our Lord Jesus in John 20:21:
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." (John 20:19-21)
After Jesus' crucifixion, the disciples had gone into hiding, paralyzed with fear. But when Jesus appeared to them after rising from the dead, He had a clear mission for them: go out to the world. The time for hiding is over; now it's time to actively live out the truth of the gospel.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the early church, put it this way:
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." (Phil 2:12)
Paul likens the Christian walk to exercise. You don't get in shape by lounging around — you have to work hard, be disciplined, deny your impulses and persevere. In a similar way, our faith requires our active commitment.
In fact, if you look at the great men and women of faith in history — from Paul, to Martin Luther and even the late Billy Graham — you'll notice they all took ownership of their faith. They all made the conscious decision of following Jesus every day.
You and I have the same calling. Will you live actively for Jesus?