Dirk and Dork and Doing

by Victor Knowles

Recently I watched a program on the Discovery Channel about people who like to live close to the ocean. Because of their thirst for an ocean view, they build beachfront cottages and homes. But sand moves. It rises and falls and even shifts sideways with the surging movement of the waves, Beaches eventually erode. The sand cannot hold off the sea forever. Raging storms that batter the coastlines complicate the matter. The documentary showed house after house collapsing into the ocean. Over the period of 1,000 years, an entire town in England was eventually claimed by the sea—including seven ancient churches built of stone, but set too close to the sand. Jesus told a parable about a wise man who built his house on the rock and a foolish man who built his house on the sand (Matt. 7:24-27). When the storms came, one house stood while the other fell flat. Who would be so foolish as to build his house on sand? Both builders heard the words of Christ. But only one put them into practice. This is the danger we face today. It is so easy to hear the Word. It is quite another thing to do what the Word says! If we are not careful, we can fixate on hearing. A “fixation” is “an obsessive or unhealthy preoccupation.” We have many opportunities today to hear, read, discuss, and do in-depth study of God’s Word at church, in small groups, on our own. But what good does it do if we never get around to putting the Word into practice? Let’s call the two builders Dirk and Dork. Dirk is sharp—like the dagger he is named after. He knows he should do what the Word says. So he digs deep and lays his foundation on the rock (Luke 6:48). His house withstood the storm. Dork is, well, a dork! He does dorky things—dumb things—like building a house on a foundation of sand. What an idiot! He failed to put Christ’s teachings into practice and his house was swept out to sea. The difference between Dirk and Dork was doing! In his book The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard said, “More than any other single thing ... the practical irrelevance of actual obedience to Christ accounts for the weakened effect of Christianity in the world today….” Obedience. Now there’s a word we don’t like to hear. It ranks right up there with “repent” and “deny yourself.” But even Jesus had to learn obedience (Heb. 5:8,9) and become obedient (Phil. 2:6), Where do we get off “offing” obedience or denigrating doing? The most practical primer on what Christians should be doing is the book of James. He sounds a lot like Jesus (he should because he was Jesus’ half-brother!) when he says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James. 1:22). Don’t be a Dork! Be a Dirk. Don your Nikes and…just do it!