Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Practical Man

A man devoid of faith, like Judas, needs something to sustain him, to nourish his emotional life, and most men in this position boast of their practical side. Judas was practical.

--Jim Bishop,
The Day Christ Died, p. 88

This book was written in 1957, and I read it almost 30 years ago. This is the one line in the entire book that has stuck with me over the years.

I'm rereading the book this week, and I still like the comment about Judas. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I do pride myself on my practicality. Keeping things in order and under control does in some way nourish my emotional life.

There's no sin in being practical. The entire book of Proverbs certainly recommends it. The problem comes when practicality takes the place of faith. And that happens often in my prayer life. I tend to ask only for that which, in my eyes, has a reasonable expectation of happening, something whose means of fulfillment I can map out, "if only God will give a little nudge here and here."

I'm guessing a person of faith will focus more on what God can do than on what is practical, feasible, and doable. Certainly, He who creates ex nihilo will have a few tricks up His sleeve!

A practical man can simulate service to the Master without ever actually having to relate to Him. A practical man takes initiative and leads to where he thinks things should go, maybe along the way asking the Master to endorse the effort. A man of faith meets with the Master and receives instructions, then follows.

Judas was a practical man.

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