Apparently, it doesn’t matter what you believe!
This last week my friend Stuart McAllister, of Ravi Zacharias Ministries, has been in Gig Harbor for a well-earned mini-sabbatical. I invited Stuart to meet with our leadership team on Tuesday morning, and as he shared with us he mentioned something that I found very disturbing… and too true.
Stuart quoted someone who said that human beings “do what we value, not what we believe.” Since, as a pastor, I’m in the “belief business,” I naturally balked at this idea. Surely our actions arise out of our deeply-held beliefs, right? But Stuart went on to make his point. We Christians say that we believe that the Bible is God’s Word, but we do not read it. Wesay that we believe in prayer, but we don’t pray or go to prayer meetings. We say that we believe in evangelism, but we do not share our faith or invite anyone to church. We say we are stewards of all that we possess, but we do not tithe. We say that Sunday worship is important, but sports or other family activities supplant it without a second thought.
Stuart went on, disturbingly, to suggest that if you want to know what people really value, look at where they direct their time, money and thought life. People do what they value… not what they believe.
I was very disturbed by this conversation, because it was so obviously true. And dispiriting. And it raises an important question: How then do we translate something that we believeinto something we value? How do we convert deeply-held Christian convictions into deeply-held Christian values that captivate and compel our lives?
I don’t think this is a matter of the will. We can’t control our feelings, our passions… which means that it can only be a work of the Holy Spirit who captures and directs our passions in a new trajectory. Perhaps a starting point for this transformation is to do an honest self-assessment of ourselves in light of paragraph 2 above. Ask ourselves: “How much of what Isay I believe do I really value, too? And perhaps, if you are troubled your self-discovery, ask the Holy Spirit to begin to conform your values to your convictions.
I would say this: if more and more of the people of Chapel Hill begin to align their beliefs and their values, we will be a force to be reckoned with.
P.S. This Sunday I will be playing the “shamelessly cute” card during the worship service with a living sermon prop that you have never seen in the sanctuary. Guess which “I Am” we are doing next? You might not want to miss it.