August 17, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: Intention Versus Action

Brother-Aaron-236x300Florence Nightingale once said, “You ask me why I do not write something … I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words, they ought all to be distilled into actions and into actions which bring results.”

Aristotle said, “Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way…you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.”

Florence Nightingale and Aristotle both were saying the same thing:  Actions speak louder than words!

I have discovered in my own life that often, my intentions and my actions don’t line-up. And I suspect I’m not the only dog named Rover running in this pack!  I have a strong suspicion that many of you fall a little short in this area too.

Will Rogers hit the nail on the head when he said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there!”

Good intentions get us on the right track, but action is what moves us down the track. Intention without action is a recipe for disaster! Do you suppose this is why James wrote in James 2: 17, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone”? I think James understood that even faith, if it has no action, is merely an intention!

One of the greatest detriments to Christianity is intention without action. (Stop and reread that last sentence) I don’t recall a single time in the Bible where Jesus failed to follow His intentions with action.

I can’t find it recorded where He ever told His disciples, “Well boys, I really intended to do that. But you know how it is. Time just got away from Me.  I got distracted, and the next thing I knew time was gone, and oh, well – it probably wasn’t that important anyway.”

No! I don’t find a single scenario like that recorded about Jesus. However, I do find many scenarios like that in my own life. And I just can’t help but wonder how different things would be in my life or yours if we, like Jesus, made sure that action followed our intention.

I wonder how many things would be different in our world today if people had only put into action those things they intended to do.  I wonder how many marriages would not have ended in divorce, childhoods would have turned out differently, and how many people would not be living a life filled with regret.

I wonder what kind of country America would be today if, for the last forty years, good God-fearing men and women had stood for what they knew to be right, and against what they knew to be wrong and had put into action those things they intended to do. And I wonder the impact our churches would have on society today if Christians would simply put into action the things they intend to do and know they should do.

An old saying says, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  Ain’t it so?  Ain’t it so?

Do you know how Albert Einstein defined insanity? He defined it as: Doing the same thing, the same way, expecting different results. The Aaron McCollough interpretation of that is: If you always do, what you’ve always done, you’ll always get, what you’ve always got!

Our intentions “…ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.” Intention versus action is a very sobering thought, isn’t it?

Brother Aaron

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