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There are No Bystanders in this Life

By February 18, 2020Church, Leadership

In the game of life, everyone is a participant.

No one is ever truly just an observer, a member of the studio audience. We will either play an active or passive role, but in both cases we are choosing to do something.

Regardless if we are creating our day-to-day experiences or simply allowing them to happen, they are still happening.

There are no bystanders in this life.

Both action and inaction have consequences. Action-based results are easier to identify because we see the connection between cause and effect. When something works, we refine it and do it better. When it doesn’t work, we can make adjustments or drop it altogether.

But I believe it’s harder to see the consequences of inaction, especially the long-term impact that inaction has on our inner wellbeing.

I was recently rereading a story of Jesus, one that is familiar to many people — at least in general. It’s the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). The Good Samaritan is called “good” not just because he recognized a need but for taking action. He did something.

But what might less familiar is that the same story included two others who did nothing. In the eyes of Jesus’ audience, these should have been the people who would have helped.

They were religious leaders, people who had devoted their lives to learning about God. But they asked the wrong question.

In fact, asking the right question is one of the basic differences between people who actively create and those who passively allow.

First, the wrong question: What will happen to me if I do something? This question actually encourages us to come up with every reason to NOT do something. It’s too costly. It will take too much time. I might get hurt.

What question did the Good Samaritan ask?

It’s the question that explores the hidden costs of inactivity: What will happen to me if I don’t do something?

The hidden costs of inactivity may not show up immediately. Just as callouses don’t show up overnight, long-term effects on our spirit and heart may take months or years to show up. Since every decision sets in motion a direction, we might only see the next step when choosing to remain inactive; we often don’t see where it eventually leads.

Here’s the good news … you have a choice about what kind of person you will be. You can choose play an active role in life.

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  • 25+ years of senior leadership experience
  • masters in management and leadership
  • presenter at the WFX National Conference
  • former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
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