Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
"The worldly take more initiative than the other-worldly when it comes to dealing with their own kind." –Luke 16:8
"Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guard the city, in vain does the guard keep vigil" (Ps 127:1). "It is the Lord's blessing that brings wealth, and no effort can substitute for it" (Prv 10:22). No matter how hard we try, we cannot make the works of God happen. "It is God Who, in His good will toward you, begets in you any measure of desire or achievement" (Phil 2:13).
Some people infer from this that Christians should not take initiative in building God's kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. However, the Lord didn't tell us to take no initiative but rather to not think that our initiative is the cause of His works.
The Lord wants His people to take more initiative than "the movers and the shakers" of this world (see Lk 16:8). Like the early Church and the Church throughout the centuries, we are to take bold initiatives for God's kingdom. The Church teaches: "The initiative of lay Christians is necessary especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. This initiative is a normal element of the life of the Church" (Catechism, 899). We Christians are a people of strong initiative, for we follow God Who initiates everything good (Jas 1:17). He does this because He is Love (1 Jn 4:16). We do this because "the love of Christ impels us" (2 Cor 5:14).
Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne,