CS Lewis reckons courage as the greatest virtue, because without it all the other virtues become conditional virtues. If we lack the courage to act with integrity, honesty or mercy at the testing point then we only have integrity, mercy or honesty with conditions that involve our own pleasure, comfort, safety or desires attached. (HT to Frost and Hirsch)
As I meditated on what God would be saying to our Gospel Community this week, as we gathered to plan and dream a bit for the next few months, I realized that all of our planning boils down to three clear questions. What is God saying to us/ calling us to do in this season? Will we do it? What do we need to do to make it happen?
Most of the time the sticking point goes with question two; “Will we do it?” Mostly we are with a fair degree of wisdom, common sense and occasional direct guidance able to without too much difficulty discern what the next faithful step is that God is calling us to. And then we often skip straight on to question three, the how question(s). We spend a lot of time here making excuses, raising difficulties and finding obstacles to not answering God’s call on our lives/community.
And often this is where we stay. We have a fair comprehension of what God wants us to do. We have some good ideas about what we ought to do. But we also have thrown up many reasons, excuses and potential difficulties as to why we have to think longer/ delay acting/ do something else. It is seldom voiced so plainly. Mostly we just plan it to death and the calling merely slips away silently into the night, unseen and unmissed.
“Will we do it?” is the game breaker. I think it is crucial to answer this question, throw it around, look each other in the eye and answer it out loud before we even begin to talk about logistics. The how are always second tier questions. On the first tier is the What question and the “Will-We” question. Once those are answered in the affirmative the why will follow as a matter of course. If we have made a prior decision to obedience the logistical how questions become less like a series of obstacles and reasons why it will not or could not work. And more like a serious of challenges to be overcome and worked out any way we have to.
The calling is clear. Obedience is a prior decision. Now we simply need the courage to make it work anyway we have to.