"Do good to all, especially those who are of the household of faith."
We are called to do good to all. Geroge Müller of Bristol dedicated himself utterly to God and, as a result, achieved astounding good, in working among the orphans of his town.
Passive good-doing does not disrupt one's life, and hardly ever inconveniences it - example, the servant did who hid his talent in the ground, protecting it and avoiding any risk of harm. Reactive good-doing might disrupt one's life, or at least inconvenience it. Active good-doing changes one's life irrevocably, and one's life becomes not one's own - example, the apostle Paul.
Most Christians are either passive or reactive. Very few are active. Goerge Müller was active in doing good.
While justice restores good when wrong has happened, Agapé (self-giving) love brings extra good into reality that was not there before. God has revealed Himself as agapé love - not just a God of compassion, but of agapé. Agapé meanings pouring out self-sacrificing good even in evil situations, without hoping for any return. Jesus told us to do good like this, pointing to the Father Who sends rain on the just and unjust alike. In this way we show ourselves to be sons of the Father.
It was said of George Müller of Bristol that "It was his life-motto to learn the will of God before undertaking anything, and to wait till it is clear, because only so can one either be blessed in his own soul or prospered in the work of his hands" [Vol 1:74 cited by Pierson, p.85]. Given the great success of Müller in the work with orphans, this suggests that we should never do anything until we have waited on God and found clarity about what to do. Is that helpful? Is it true?
Dimension 2, in which we are filled with the Holy Spirit and have an intimate relationship with God as Father, might suggest agreement with Müller, though Paul's discussion of the gifts of the Spirit in I Cor. 12, 13, 14 would suggest more proactive action. Dimension 3, in which we are refashioned to be mature 'sons' representing our Father, and will act in any situation as he would, would suggest that we should be active and not always waiting.
Which is right? If Müller was right, what do we learn from him for the New View? If Müller was wrong, how can this be? If it depends on circumstances, or perhaps on the personality or background or context of the person, what determines each?
Those are questions we need to ask, and at some stage I trust I can discuss them on this page.
This page is offered to God as on-going work in developing a 'New View' in theology that is appropriate to the days that are coming upon us. Comments, queries welcome.
Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2013, but you may use this material subject to certain conditions.
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Created: 18 December 2011. Last updated: 1 January 2013 Active, passive, reactive; why do active good, headings.