The Inability to Do Nothing
Written by Dale Ebel
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”– 2 Corinthians 5:14 NIV
The other day someone asked me where I get my ideas and inspiration to write my articles. My answer: I read a variety of books germane to my interests and how I see Christendom and the culture. I feel that the Holy Spirit directs me, and He also brings to my mind Scripture that I have stored in my brain and my inner spirit for the last 55 years of studying the Word of God. This also includes the most recent Scriptures that the Holy Spirit is illuminating to me. Also, I attempt to integrate the text of Scripture and the content from the books I read, into my daily life. I am always attempting to advance Kingdom of God principles as they apply to the church, the public square, and our personal walk of obedience to Christ.
- To write well is to think clearly.
- To write well stimulates me to act biblically.
The Story of Joshua Chamberlain on the Little Round Top
Today I was reading from one of my favorite authors, Mark Batterson in his book All In. He related the story of Joshua Chamberlain who was a student of theology, and a professor of rhetoric. (Look to All In pages 35-39, from the Chapter titled: Charge).
When called to duty by the Union Army, Chamberlain answered the call and climbed the ranks to become colonel of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment. On July 2, 1863, Chamberlain and his three-hundred-soldier regiment were all that stood between the Confederates and certain defeat at a battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. At 2:30 p.m. the 15th the 47th Alabama infantry regiments of the Confederate army charged, but Chamberlain and his men held their ground. This followed by a second, third, fourth, and fifth charge. By the last charge, only eighty blues stood standing. Chamberlain himself was knocked down by a bullet that hit his belt buckle, but the thirty-four-year-old schoolteacher got right back up.
With no reinforcements coming, and his men down to only one round of ammunition per soldier, Chamberlain made a decision. His defining decision, historians say, which turned the tide of the war. In full view of the enemy that greatly outnumbered them, he climbed their barricade of stones and gave a command. He pointed his sword and yelled, “Charge!” The union soldiers caught the Confederates off guard and eighty Union soldiers captured four thousand Confederates in five minutes flat.
Historians believe that if Chamberlain had not charged, the rebels would have gained the high ground. If the rebels had gained the high ground there is a good chance, they would have won the battle of Gettysburg. If the rebels had won that battle, the historical consensus is that the Confederates would have won the war.
One man’s seemingly small act of courage saved the day, saved the war, and saved the Union.
The Power of The Small
In the eyes of the Lord little things are big things.
If we do the little things like they are big things,
then God will do big things like they are little things.
Holiness usually comes in small steps… not big steps.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin,”– Zechariah 4:10 NLT
When Zechariah was building the new temple which was small in relation to the former temple it was considered by many as something insignificant. However, it was a necessary beginning, and its ramifications would eventually encompass the whole world. No work done in the name of Christ as led by His Spirit in harmony with His Word is trivial in the eyes of God, for He can use small things to accomplish great things to build up His reputation.
In his later years, Chamberlain would reflect back on the war with these words: “I had deep within me the inability to do nothing. I knew I may die, but I also knew that I would not die with a bullet in my back.”
The Inability to Do Nothing!
Isn’t this the spirit that ought to reflect our walk with our Lord Jesus Christ?
It has now been over 13 years since I left Rolling Hills Community Church back in 2009. Without going into all the details of my departure it was somewhat inauspicious (unpromising; not conducive to success) to say the least. After I left, essentially, I dropped back to what I was taught by Josh McDowell, who discipled me along with 4 other guys in the summer of 1967 on the lawn in front of the San Bernardino Hotel, which was the headquarters of Campus Crusade for Christ. He used the small book (small things ☺): The Master Plan of Evangelism, by Robert Colman, to shape the trajectory of my future ministry. The Holy Spirit was developing within me the inability to do nothing. I decided I would disciple men.
Upon my departure from Rolling Hills I made a decision. Clearly not as dramatic as the life and death decision of Joshua Chamberlain in the Civil War. Would I retreat to the safety of no ministry and no risk, or would I tell myself to “CHARGE?!” As you might guess, I chose to CHARGE!
A Significant Shift In our Present Culture
Most of us would never have guessed how rapidly our culture would move toward a purely secular worldview that opposes a biblical worldview. I know I did not.
Political consternation, polarization between family members, economic and relational repercussions because of Covid, and the school system overtly revealing its true identity—the socialization and indoctrination of our children with gender identity dogma. All of this has given most of us who are followers of Christ a reason to pause.
Of course, our Lord Jesus Christ understood this as He recognized the leaning of the world system void of the Spirit of God.
Jesus praying to God the Father said,
“14 I have given them your Word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your Truth; teach them your Word, which is Truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.”– John 17:14-18 NLT
Little did I know that the Social Justice Movement would become the dominant voice in America and many, many, so-called evangelical churches would cave into the false movement of Black Lives Matter and the false ideologies associated with Critical Race Theory. All of which are anarchical in nature with the stated purpose to overthrow America’s Judeo-Christian underpinnings. In addition to this, Transgenderism, Homosexuality, Lesbianism, and a distorted Feminism have ravished many Christian families. I have received their emails, their phone calls and I am meeting with them as they wrestle with a son, daughter, or family member who has abandoned the faith to follow after other “alternative kingdoms.” They are dealing with relatives who are changing their gender, accepting of a son or daughter who has become a homosexual or lesbian.
All these changes and challenges are being used by the Lord God as a sifting process to reveal who are His true Christ Followers:
“They went out from us, but they were not really of us…1 John 2:19, and those who are pretenders—“I will not go with pretenders…” —Psalm 26:4. The 1 John passage places emphasis on the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Those genuinely born from above endure in faith and fellowship and in the truth. (Also 1 Corinthians 11:19 and 2 Timothy 2:12). The ultimate test of true Christianity is endurance—“but the one who endures to the end will be saved”–Matthew 13:13. The departure of people from the truth and the true church is their unmasking.
As Yahweh God tightens the vice of His judgment on the earth, I am believing that more inhabitants of the earth will learn righteousness by our example of refuting false ideologies and modeling godly behavior. Please muse over two most intriguing verses below and jot down a few of your observations:
“My soul yearns for You in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for You. When Your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. 10 But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the LORD.”– Isaiah 26:9-10 NIV.
Rapid Cultural Changes Motivate Me
As a result of these rapid changes I was compelled to address them head on with the Truth of the Word of God. I realized I must have the inability to do nothing!
I don’t know about you, but for me it can be overwhelming to witness the broader culture disaggregate right before our eyes. It is one thing for not-yet-Christians to believe a lie but when so called Christians choose to be deceived, because they do not love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12) it sets off alarms in my inner spirit. At the same time, it is so positively enriching and empowering to discover how Scripture supplies God’s wisdom to all life’s challenges. When we internalize His Truth, the Holy Spirit uses it to bring joy, delight, and wisdom.
“Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts (heaven’s armies)” – Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV
The Value of Wisdom and Moral Wisdom in Particular
In a day and age when intelligence is of greater value than wisdom, the Law of God (God’s orientation course in His will and ways) is desperately needed. One of the reasons wisdom is undervalued is because knowledge has brought about extraordinary advances and benefits in the field of technology, medicine, and science. However, education without a moral base of right and wrong can, and has, promoted great evil. A brief look at the staggering growth of godless China reveals the downside of intelligence and technology void of moral biblical wisdom.
Think how many parents want their children to be brilliant versus how many parents want their children to be wise, a virtue that cannot be measured on tests.
In hindsight, I wish Linda and I would have read through the book of Proverbs (the book of wisdom) on a regular basis with our children while they were growing up.
“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.”– Psalm 19:7 ESV
“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.”– Proverbs 3:13-14 NIV
Wisdom matters because good cannot be achieved without it. Good intentions without wisdom lead to either nothing or to actual evil. However much evil movements have appealed to the bad side of people’s natures, almost every one of them, communism being the most obvious example, also appealed to people’s good intentions.
Societies need wisdom far more than they need knowledge; indeed, knowledge without wisdom is likely to lead to catastrophe. Immediately after WWII, the large majority of the world’s supporters of the genocidal regimes of Stalin in the Soviet Union and Mao in China, were highly educated. Think about this: as I write this article Universities are some of the greatest centers of Israel-hatred in the Western World!
Many of the best-educated people in Germany supported Hitler and the Nazis. (Look to Dennis Prager, Exodus: God, Slavery, and Freedom. The Rational Bible page 229.)
In 1999, historian Max Weinreich’s book: Hitler’s Professors, was republished by Yale University.
Here is a synopsis of the book by Martin Gilbert, “Building, in the immediate aftermath of the war, on a formidable bibliography of books, pamphlets, and articles, Weinreich provides erudite evidence of the scale and ramifications of Nazi support in German intellectual life.” – Martin Gilbert
By the way, Dennis Prager does a marvelous treatment of the false god of Education in our present culture. Brock, our second oldest grandson, and I have read and discussed his entire Exodus Commentary.
The Apostle Paul confirms the wisdom derived from the Word of God—
“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching (doctrine); persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”– 1Timothy 4:16
I kind of feel like Jeremiah who said: “But if I say, “I will not mention His word or speak anymore in His Name,” His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”– Jeremiah 20:9 NIV
A surge of rejection swept over Jeremiah, making him not to speak for God. But he was compelled inside (the inability to do nothing) because he did not want his enemies and friends to see him fail (v.10), he felt the powerful presence of the Lord (v.11), and he remembered God’s previous deliverances (v.13). The Word of God simply cannot be quenched for one who loves God and understands what God’s Word has done for him and what it means for the world and, of course, for our present culture. Even though the person who proclaims God’s Word could be the object of criticism and derision because of it (20:8) he will proclaim and teach it to others in whatever way he can.
Here is what “The Inability to do Nothing” means to me:
The spirit that fights for the cause of Christ.
“Dear friends, … I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend (intensely agonizing) for the Faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.”– Jude 3 NIV
The spirit that demonstrates a zeal for doing Christ’s works.
“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” – Titus 2:14 KJV
The unyielding spirit to stand up for Truth amidst opposition.
“But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are.”– Ezekiel 3:8 NIV
The spirit of courage that overcomes our fears.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” – 2Timothy 1:7 NLT
When we realize that indecision is a decision.
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore, choose life, that both you and your seed may live:”– Deuteronomy 30:19 KJV
When we come to terms with the fact that inaction is an action.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 7:21 NIV
Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ, gave the command to charge!
And He’s never sounded the retreat!
Actions To Take:
#1 What is “Christ’s Love” compelling you to do in this season of your life? Please write out your answer as it will help you solidify and clarify what God has for you.
#2 Describe two aspects of the story of Joshua Chamberlain that you can integrate into your walk with Christ.
#3 In the section under the title: The Power of the Small, what are some of your take-aways?
#4 In view of the significant shifts in our culture, what have you been motivated to do? In what ways do you have the “inability to do nothing?”
#5 In the same section, which passages of Scripture motivated or convicted you? The passages are John 17:14-18; 1 John 2:19; Psalm 26:4; Matthew 13:13; and Isaiah 26:9-10.
#6 From the section, “Rapid Cultural Changes that Motivate Me,” which scriptures resonated with you most and why? These were, 2 Thessalonians 2:11,12 and Jeremiah 15:16.
#7 Summarize why biblical wisdom is crucial for a good society.
#8 I listed 6 concepts that demonstrate that I have the “inability to do nothing.”
What would be on your list?
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV