Moving the Spiritual Refrigerator
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
James 2: 14-17
In the fall of 2000 I was a college senior at Georgia Tech. For the previous 4 years I had spent much of my time studying under some of the brightest minds I had ever encountered. I read and studied about the best ways to lead teams, how to manage people and how to solve complex business problems. When I wasn’t studying I spent a fair amount of time at the gym, and by my senior year I had become what the world would consider a physically and academically strong youth.
One weekend my mother asked me if I would go to my grandparents’ house and put some of my new found muscle to work to help my grandfather move some appliances he had bought to his shop building. She was concerned that my Grandfather was “not as young as he used to be” and that he would hurt himself trying to move some of the heavier pieces by himself. Knowing that my grandfather was the kind of man who was going to move the appliances with our without my help, I agreed to go and take care of the heavy lifting like the washers and refrigerators and let him focus on moving the lighter appliances.
When we arrived at the shop building my grandfather rolled up the back door of the moving truck he had borrowed for the task and he grabbed a microwave and headed off to the shop. While he was moving the microwave I began looking at the refrigerator that was sitting on the lip of the truck bed and began thinking of the best way to try to unload the behemoth. My grandfather made three or four more trips back and forth to the shop as I stood there scratching my head, using all of my academic problem solving skills to engineer a solution to lower the refrigerator to the ground.
As I was standing there still trying to think of the best way to move the refrigerator, my grandfather came walking up behind me, slapped me on the shoulder and said “you’re not gonna think it out of the truck, you gotta put your hands on it son”. He then brushed past me and proceeded to manhandle the refrigerator out of the truck on to the ground as I scrambled to get in position to provide some semblance of help. With the refrigerator on the ground he deftly slid the hand trucks under the refrigerator, winked at me and began hauling it off to the shop by himself as I just stood there dumbfounded.
I learned a valuable lesson from my 5’9” 68 year old, 8th grade educated grandfather that day. And the lesson was that it doesn’t matter how many hours you have studied, or how big your muscles are, you are not going to get anything done if you don’t “put your hands on it”.
Sometimes I wonder if spiritually speaking I am still that same young man standing at the back of God’s moving truck trying to think my way out of doing the heavy lifting that needs to be done. Do I spend all of my time studying about God, and building my spiritual muscles instead of just putting my hands on the “spiritual refrigerator” that is sitting there so obviously waiting for someone to move it?
I think if I’m being honest with myself I am missing opportunities daily to do the real lifting that God has invited me to participate in by spending too much of my time thinking about how to do the work. And I bet I’m not the only one.
Point is an amazing place that helps train some amazing young men and women for Kingdom work. We have great professors in the biblical studies department who teach us about scripture and challenge us to think differently about God’s love for us and for others. We have great chapel services that help us to understand and apply God’s word to our lives. We have some amazing coaches, faculty and staff who are committed to showing us how to live as Christians in our daily lives. And we are surrounded by a community of peers who are committed to living life together and forming real and healthy community. We are a campus full of spiritually educated, strong people… and I believe that we are a group of people that can do a better job of putting our hands on the “spiritual refrigerators” in our world and do more of the real heavy lifting in our local and global community.
Alan Kemper, Assistant Professor of Business
My challenge to all of you is that you do less thinking and more doing. My prayer is that Point becomes a community that is known for putting our hands on the work that God has laid out before us and not just thinking about it. I invite you to step up to the “spiritual refrigerator” that God has placed in front of you and “put your hands on it”, because we are not going to think people into the Kingdom of God.