Action – The Evidence of Faith
By Joe Caruso Stories
Here’s a story I remember hearing as a young boy in church many years ago. I’m not sure how accurate the details are, but it has an important lesson, which may be why I still remember it many years later.
It’s based on the daring feats of Charles Blondin, the famous tightrope walker who, during the mid-1800s, walked several times on a tightrope that stretched over a quarter mile across the mighty Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls happens to be about a 20-minute drive from where I live. Perhaps this is another reason why this story made an impression on me.
As the story goes, Blondin was completing one of his many walks across the falls. Each time, he would perform stunts to excite the crowd. He crossed the Falls blindfolded, he rode a bike, and on one occasion, he even strapped a stove to his back and made an omelet at the midpoint of the tightrope.
One particular time, Blondin was taunting the crowd. “Who believes that I can steer this wheelbarrow across the Falls?” He shouted.
The crowd roared, “yes, we believe you can do it!”
Blondin shouted again to the crowd, “Who believes I can steer this wheelbarrow across the Falls with a person sitting in it?”
The crowd cheered even louder, “Yes, Blondin, we believe you can do it!”
To the cheering crowd, Blondin then asked, “Who, who is willing to volunteer to be the person to sit in the wheelbarrow?” To that request, the crowd fell suddenly silent. There was no one willing to put their belief into action.
As I said, this story illustrates an important lesson. To say we have a belief or faith in something is great, but without action, it won’t go very far. This verse in the Book of Hebrews makes the point.
I like the words “substance” and “evidence”. To me, these words imply that faith has action associated with it. It’s proof or evidence that our belief is true. Without action, our faith or belief seems more like making a wish.
We all wish for things. I wish I had more money. That in itself won’t help me much. But if I start to put action behind that thought, it gains substance and becomes a belief. James, the brother of Jesus, said in James 2:18, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”
Many of our bible heroes were men and women of faith. When we read about them, we see they all had a deep faith and belief in God. And they demonstrated their faith through their actions. Read the rest of Hebrews 11, and you’ll see who’s in God’s “Faith Hall of Fame.”
- By faith, Noah built an arc to save his family.
- By faith, Abraham obeyed God and moved to a new land even though he didn’t know where he was going.
- By faith, Moses brought God’s people out of Egypt, not fearing Pharaoh’s wrath.
- By faith, the walls of Jericho fell after Joshua’s army marched around them seven times.
- By faith, Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
What is it that you’re believing for? What is God calling you to do? The Bible says that if we have the faith of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. But our faith requires action. So, how do we take action? What if we find ourselves like the crowd after hearing Blondin’s invitation to ride in the wheelbarrow?
First, I think God wants us to pray. Ask God to increase your faith and ask Him to help you to believe that He will work in you and through you. Asking is a form of action. God wants us to trust Him.
Then, begin to take further action by stepping out in faith. Start with one small step that you believe you can do. Then, take another step and trust God with the results.
As you do, your faith will begin to grow. You’ll start to trust God more and believe that He is walking with you each step of the way. Take another step of faith, then another. Before you know it, you’ll be moving mountains.