While reading Uncle Tom's Cabin I consistently found myself identifying with a single character. It was disturbing. I wasn't seeing myself in the winsome, passionate little Eva, or in the solid, good-hearted Tom. I didn't feel a kinship with the wild, tortured Cassy and only just a little bit with the prim Ms. Ophelia. Whom did I identify myself with the most?
Augustin St. Clair--the rich, good-looking, romantic young man whose head is full of ideals, and whose hands lay idle.
I listened to the No More Mondays podcast the other day and heard the episode, "Your Ideas are Worthless." Well, gee, that's not something you hear everyday. Everyone is telling you, "Dream big! Don't be afraid to think outside the box! You can be great if you only believe you're great!" And what did the show's hosts say? Poppycock. Hogwash.
Ideas are worthless if all you do is think. There are so many ideas out there! Just type "business idea" into Google and guess how many results you'll turn up. 41,800,000! And yet how many people do you personally know who are self-employed? There are many of them out there, of course, but how many more have had "ideas" that never went anywhere?
This shouldn't be a depressing thought, it should be an activating one. Here's a quote from Dan Allender:
"To dream alone is fantasy if it doesn't move the heart to act."
How powerful is that? Do you tend to give yourself credit for good intentions? Have you ever given yourself a mental "pat on the back" for coming up with a generous thought or a worthy concept? Slap yourself for me, would you? And slap me too.
Back to my character: Augustin St. Clair was passionately against slavery--he made grand speeches that moved the heart and conscience and spurred the abolitionist heart--but he didn't even have his own slaves set free after his death. Why?
Not because of his conscience.
Not even because of social pressure.
Not because he didn't have the dreams and ideas.
No...as far as I can see, he didn't do it because he just never got a round to it. He never took the first step. He was always living in the moment and not working towards the future. He decided he would do that "later". That's how I am too often. I have all these great intentions and then never find the time to act on them.
In this case--the thought isn't what counts.