|2 Timothy 2:4 |
4 No man who is engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life;1 so that he may please him who has chosen him to be a soldier.
1 Social action is another form of religion. You take pride in being on "the correct side" of things. You feel righteous, but what you feel is really only an increase in pride, an increase in the flesh. Worldly activities count for nothing. Whatever you do in the flesh is not pleasing to God.
The Bible calls us to stay out of the world. Be in the world, but be not of the world. Your focus should be inward, not outward. You can spend your days on this earth in correcting "evil" or you can seek the will of God; until you are under his control and capable of understanding his instructions and carrying them out with his power. As the disciples were told by Jesus to "remain in Jerusalem waiting for power from on high", you are called to turn inside and seek the heavenly Jerusalem, seeking the light to change you into a vessel equipped with his power and suitable for his service. (Of the 650,000 Quakers, a very small percentage were preachers; most were middle class shop owners, laborers, soldiers, farmers, etc.; but all had an office in the Body of Christ, with their lives being shining examples of Christian virtue.)
Your removing of self from involvement in the world is not a betrayal of your "goodness," it is a commitment to seeking his will without outside competitions. A good soldier does not get involved in civilian affairs. Any action in your flesh to correct the evils of the world, however holy the motives seem to you, it will only retard or halt your spiritual progress -- whatever the purpose: slavery, women's rights, protecting the environment, prevention of cruelty to animals, anti-drug campaigns, alcohol abuse, child abuse, hunger, globalization, abortion, war, etc.
From the Word of the Lord within: "You can spend your time trying to correct evil, or you can spend your time seeking me. Forgo the world. Practice random acts of kindness." Notice the word random in the previous message. Random is the opposite of systematic, scheduled, continuous, periodic, etc. Why? So that you will not become so occupied with your efforts that you lose the necessary focus of seeking God with all you heart; and to sit, wait, watch, listen, and obey. So with our excess we respond in secret with kindness to those in need that come in front of our face, and/or we can financially support charities; but we don't take up a cause that absorbs our time. Until you have seen Jesus appear in your heart to guide you and bring your salvation, ignore any messages you hear that order or encourage you to spend significant time away from waiting on Him.
We satisfy those randomly encountered needs only if we have excess funds to satisfy them; and if possible, we should restrain our own expenditures, so that we have excess funds available — in other words, we should always maintain savings so that we can respond randomly to those needs that we encounter randomly. Aside from being able to respond to randomly encountered needs of kindness, financial common sense is to also maintain savings to respond to unanticipated expenses necessary for our own lives; so we don't give away any of that necessary cushion of savings. Further, if we are a business owner, we also maintain significant savings so that our business can survive and/or adjust if there is a downturn in demand or some crisis that reduces our revenue; neither do we give away any of that necessary cushion of savings.
We are called to focus on the heavenly treasures, to turn inward seeking the light, to focus on what is beautiful, pure, noble, noteworthy of respect, truthful, and good. If we spend our energies and time in correcting evil, we miss the opportunity to be changed inwardly. After we are changed, then we can toil together with God in the causes of his choice; and there will be causes, but he will be the one who orders our activities — His Will, not ours.
If you think you are "called" to do something, I ask you: Where in the Bible does it speak of being "called," as you use it? Called is to be summoned or named. The Bible has not a single reference to "called" being something that God is requiring you to do, except to come to Him. When he wants you to do something, he gives you commands and orders; not a feeling, a desire, a burden, a door opening, a draw, or a "call." This word is thrown around by some sects to justify anything anybody feels an inclination to do, as being "called." When you are led by God to do something, he tells you exactly what to do and exactly when to do it.
Based on the advice of Edward Burrough, (click to read), a giant in the early Quakers, until we can distinguish between the voice of the Lord and the voice of the enemy, we should do nothing for the Lord but repent. When we can hear the Voice of the Lord, we walk in the light; and William Penn wrote, "Though it is the duty of all to walk in the light, and to wait for it, that by it they may be instructed in the way of life and salvation, yet it is they only who are actually led by it, that can rightly discern between the false spirits and the true."
* By way of review: to be guided or led by the light, the light must first arise in your heart like a magnificent star, so that you are shown everything to do and told everything to say; the unmistakable arising of the light comes from faith in the voice.