Like I was saying....

What should you do?

 I came across this quote from Peter Marshall yesterday. I’d heard it back in September on our trip to Washington DC. Peter Marshall is the former Chaplain of the Senate in the 1940’s and pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian.

I wonder what would happen if we all agreed to read one of the Gospels until we came to a place that told us to do something, then went out to do it, and only after we had done it, began reading again?

There are aspects of the Gospel that are puzzling and difficult to understand. But our problems are not centered around the things we don’t understand, but rather in the things we do understand, the things we could not possibly misunderstand. Our problem is not so much that we don’t know what we should do. We know perfectly well, but we don’t want to do it.

To read this seems to place some heaviness of responsibility on us, doesn’t it?  How does that quote strike you?


  1. Rick

    “Told us to do something” – I don’t know. I would change it up to say that as we’re reading the narrative and we get to a point that shakes up what we’re doing, or gives us a new better way to live, go do that, make sure we have that down somehow, before reading any further. “In the things we do understand”, we still need to make it applicable to today. I think you’re right, that there’s an intentional responsbility on my part to follow through with what I do understand, but more than just “do it”, I think we need to make it a deeper part of ourselves in some way.

    Does that ring true with your question?

  2. Blake

    Yeah, I think so. While I do believer there are things that the Bible tells us “to do”, it is more than just checking something off of a “to do list”. But I think the intent is also “to become” more like Jesus and to let that “becoming more like Him” affect and guide what we do.

    Is that sorta what you mean?

  3. Rick

    I think so 🙂 – for the gospels in particular, it’s a story for the most part. The “you should do this” parts are usually buried in the narrative of something bigger, that’s all. I’m in with you and with Marshall on moving when we feel that charge to move/change/serve/whatever, and then come back to it when we’ve got that small part worked out somehow.

  4. g

    I had never even thought of stopping my reading to carry out what I felt I was being led / told to do at that point before reading further. Provocative idea.

    The “becoming” part is probably most important, because it affects everything one does (and is).

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