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  • Shawn Thornton

Courage, Action, Blessing

Tuesday - April 20th

Scripture to Read Today: John 13:1-17


Now that you know these things,

you will be blessed if you do them.

John 13:17

Aristotle said, "Courage is the first of all virtues."

Aristotle believed that without courage, no other virtues could be possible. Being brave enough to act must precede any good action. Sitting idly by accomplishes nothing. Theodore Roosevelt reminded us of the importance of courageously acting, rather than merely watching, in his speech, Citizenship in A Republic. In one section, he said:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Roosevelt believed that a man should not be judged by what he achieved but by the fact that he acted. To Roosevelt, courage was the virtue that enabled men to try and struggle. Trying, acting, and even struggling unlocked opportunities to demonstrate all other virtues. To him, the one in the arena knew success. Success was not measured by how much was achieved.

John 13:1-17 records how Jesus washed His disciples' feet the night before His death on the cross. He told them that his humble act of service should serve as an example of their own virtuous humility and service among one another. He called them out of the stands and into the arena.

Courage would be required of the disciples if they lived out the virtues to which Christ called them. Courage requires personal sacrifice. It demands that one take the risk of failing. It calls for skin in the game.

Every follower of Christ faces the choice to watch other believers live out our calling in Christ or to engage in that calling ourselves with action. It's far simpler to sit on the sidelines; easier to criticize and sneer at those who dare to take the leap from spectator to participant. Ultimately, passively watching and criticizing rather than engaging brings emptiness and frustration.

Jesus went a step further in describing what we will experience when we get out of the stands and into the arena. "Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them" (John 13:17). When we know what to do and don't do it, we fail to experience the blessing God has for us. Meaning and satisfaction become the welcome blessing when we do what we are called to do by Christ.

Are you doing what you know Christ calls you to do? Have you ignored, neglected, or refused to live out anything you know was your responsibility as a follower of Jesus? Confess it to the Lord and take a courageous step to do what you know to do. God will fill your heart with the blessing of joy as you do!

It takes courage to act. Blessing floods the heart that takes courageous steps to act on what God calls us to do as His followers!


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