Knowing Is Simply Not Enough

January is the month of hopes and dreams.  It comes from “Janus” who was an ancient Roman god of doorways, of beginnings, and usually represented by one head with two bearded faces back to back, looking in opposite directions.

For faith people with new beginnings, it is always important we know in what direction we are going.  For a church, that means correctly understanding availability and appropriation. 

In his book, Overhearing the Gospel, Fred Craddock points out, “Knowledge about ethical concepts does not make one ethical.  Burghardt DuBois, the great black educator, sociologist, and historian, upon completion of studies at Fisk, Harvard and University of Berlin, was convinced that change in the condition of the American black could be effected by careful scientific investigations into the truth about the black in America.

“So he proceeded.  His research was flawless and his graphs and charts impeccable.  After waiting several years and hearing not the slightest stir of reform, Dr. DuBois had to accept the truth about the Truth:  Its being available does not mean it will be appropriated.”

Good words for a new year.  It is not enough that we know Christ died for us and, through His resurrection, provided a way for eternal life.  It is not enough that we know about the abundant life that is possible through a daily walk with Christ.  No, knowing all of that is simply not enough.  That is called availability and what must follow is appropriation.

Appropriation is when we do something with that knowledge. Appropriation is when we make that information available to family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances that intersect our lives.  Appropriation is what happens when we realize that the Gospel always has two faces—the face of God as He searches for us and the face of God as He is revealed through us to others.  It was always meant to be that way.

So, may 2013 be the year that WE more clearly and dearly appropriate all that God through Christ has done and is doing for us.  Thanks be to God!

After over three decades of managing and motivating people in the local church as a pastor, I now spend my waking hours heralding the call for living in redemptive, reconciled relationships. I simply call them “stay in the room” relationships.