READ: James 4
THINK: In 1919 the Chicago White Sox were the overwhelming favorites to beat the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. But before the Series began, some gamblers approached eight key players on the team and offered them money to intentionally lose. The White Sox were notoriously underpaid by their tight-fisted owner, Charlie Comiskey, so seven of the players including superstars “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and Eddie Cicotte agreed. The White Sox went on to lose the series five games to three.
The shocking win by the Reds coupled with all of the money that was bet on them caused deep suspicion and before long the conspiracy was revealed. The scandal rocked the nation and the White Sox became known as the Black Sox because of their dishonor. Major League Baseball appointed Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as the new commissioner of the sport and gave him complete power to make rulings as he saw fit. Though none of the Black Sox were ever convicted in a court of law, Landis banned all eight key players from baseball for life.
You might well have read that sentence and thought to yourself, “Why eight? Is that a typo? The last paragraph said that only seven of them took the bribes and threw the Series.” Both are true. Third Baseman Buck Weaver vehemently denied that he had taken any money. After being approached, he declined. And he played to win every single game. His statistics fully supported that claim. But Judge Landis was unmoved by his testimony. Why? Because Buck Weaver knew what was going on and he did not speak out and stop it. Buck Weaver was banned from baseball for life not because he did anything wrong, but because he failed to do what was right.
James 4:17 says,”If anyone knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” We live in a world that is filled with evil and darkness. In the midst of that, Christians have a call to be bold and to bring healing and to speak truth and to shine God’s light. But it is incredibly easy – and tempting – to do nothing instead. Being passive in the face of the brokenness that surrounds us seems like the simpler and easier option. We are too often content to simply not follow the Devil instead of actively resisting him. We are too often consumed with doing nothing wrong instead of submitting ourselves to do what is right. God is calling us to courageous action. Our world is desperate for us to answer that call!
ASK: The 18th –century Irish philosopher, Edmund Burke, once wrote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” What is my natural instinct when I see evil? To resist it or to turn away and avoid action? What are some evils in my world that require courageous action on my part so that people can be healed and set free in Christ?
PRAY: Ask that God would help you shine like a light in this dark world. Submit your fears to him and pray that he would give you the wisdom to know where he is calling you to take action and the courage to follow through with it.