Know Or Do?

by Rich Dixon on May 22, 2012

Ever get a pebble in your shoe?

Just a teeny one, and you don’t even notice it’s there for a while until you’re limping without even knowing why? It’s just a tiny stone, and maybe you try to ignore it for a while, but eventually it causes enough irritation that you have to stop and deal with it.

My friend Jon Swanson writes a lot of those tiny pebbles. I’ll read one of his articles and move on, and later I feel this simple little idea rubbing my brain like an irritating little stone in your shoe. (In case you’re wondering, guys in wheelchairs have similar issues, except the stones end up on seat cushions, and you might want to stop the mental image right there.)

Anyway, Jon posted an article last week titled What do I do with what I know? It’s a good question. Knowing stuff is okay, but it’s really kind of meaningless until I actually do something with the knowledge.

As a teacher I believed in the difference between knowing and learning. Knowing is only the first step—it ain’t learning until it changes behavior.

As I prepare for my bike ride in July I’m discovering a little about the issues addressed by International Justice Mission. For example, did you know there are more than 150 million orphans in the world. 150 million!

It’s a problem that’s much bigger than just lacking a support system. Kids without families are easy targets. Many of these children become victims of human traffickers and are sold into slavery and the sex trade.

So now I know. And I’m outraged that people exploit helpless kids. Now what? Do I file that factoid away in a mental drawer that also contains the quadratic formula and a few memorized Bible verses? Does it become one more thing I know but don’t do anything with?

Here’s the place where we feel guilty and throw up our hands in frustration. I can’t possibly solve the world’s orphan problem, right?

No, I can’t—and neither can you. Fixing the world is God’s job.

He invites you and me to change the world, to make a difference, by doing what we can, where we are, with what we have. Seems so small, but everything we do is “small” in God’s view. He asks us to do the small stuff and trust Him for the big stuff.

Do, which means some sort of action. Doing isn’t thinking or pondering or worrying or wringing our hands in frustration. And we’re back to that irritating pebble of Jon’s question: What do I do with what I know?

Maybe it’s consistent, intentional prayer, or finding a mission outreach to work with. Perhaps it’s writing a check. For some it means considering adoption.

Me? I’m riding a handcycle, because it’s what I can do. I trust that God will bless and multiply the effects of my meager efforts.


If you’d like to contribute to International Justice Mission through my ride, please go to this page. Be sure to find my name under “participant name” so your donation’s properly credited.

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