Be Successful by Doing Nothing
Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.” Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him. Genesis 6:21-22
Occasionally, on TV or the radio, I’ll hear some Christian speaker preach a message that goes something like this: Christ already died to save you. The work has been done. You can’t save yourself, so stop struggling and working so hard. If you’re wrestling with recurrent failure, stop. You can’t defeat it. Let go and let God.
There is an important truth here. Christ did die for our sins. That work of salvation has already been done and we cannot save ourselves. From there though, this sermon strays off course as the truth gets twisted into a do-nothing faith. For the one addicted to drugs, the message is clear: I don’t have to do anything except believe in Christ. I don’t have to change my life or go to meetings. The work has been done. Those of us who’ve found ourselves struggling with addiction love this message because recovery is hard work. We’ve tried desperately to change, and we’ve relapsed repeatedly, so when you tell us there’s a secret way out that requires no effort on our part, we’re enthralled.
Today’s passage though, reveals in important reality. Though Noah lived prior to Christ’s sacrificial death, the passage reveals something of the nature of God. In Genesis six, God made a covenant with Noah that he would save him from the coming flood. The covenant was made. The relationship was established. To Noah though, his life’s work had just begun. God laid out the measurements of the ark and Noah began years of work and preparation. Though it takes just a few seconds to read our Bibles, this project consumed decades of Noah’s life. It wasn’t a side project that Noah did on Sunday mornings. This was his daily job – to obey and follow God’s plan.
There’s a lesson here for me. Yes, Christ has died on the cross and the work of salvation has been done. That, however, does not mean that I sit back and do nothing. Once I’ve put my faith in Christ, my real life’s work has just begun. Now, my job is to daily do whatever it takes to abandon my way to follow Christ’s (Luke 9:23). This is purposeful. This takes effort. This is a life-consuming project and it’s my daily job as a follower of Christ. Faith doesn’t mean that I can now sit back and do nothing. Faith is believing in God and making my behavior follow him. This is my daily and lifelong job.