As a technologist of a number of decades, I have just grown use to acronyms in my language.
- IBM – International Business Machines
- DOS – Disk Operating System
- JCL – Job Control Language
- ETC – etcetera
These symbols abbreviated our speech and writing with codes that those of our frame of reference could understand. Other words became acronyms, and as kids and adults we used with these phrases often.
- FORD – “Fix Or Repair Daily”, “Fast On Race Days”
- DELTA – Don’t Even Leave The Airport
Maybe you will have fun recalling some of your own acronyms and could add them as comments to this posting.
I know I have heard this one before, but it came to my attention from a document my brother sent me. It’s not an easy shortcut to remember, or to pronounce, nevertheless it meets the qualifications as described previously. Someone has even called this one of the most powerful ten words, one syllable, two letter words referenced by an acronym in the entire world.
- IIITBIIUTM – “If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me”
If it is to be, it is up to me…
Perhaps it’s you, and perhaps not, but I am the type of person that sees something that needs to be done – and just do it. Without asking for permission, without recognition or bragging rights, I see a need an am compelled by some inner force to “just do it.” Many years ago my pastor (in Texas) preached about something that we have recently called “paying forward.” He would pay for another person’s meal, but ask the server to help him be anonymous, or give the toll road person a roll of quarters to pay for the next number of people behind him. Without seeking recognition, he instilled within me the idea of “just doing it.” Now 20+ years later, my wife and I still look for opportunities to do these kinds of actions without ever seeking a reward for a good deed, or for recognition. In our little community we have done this for a number of military families who are obviously here for a short duration and far from home. It’s makes us feel good to do this for others.
Scripture is perhaps full of these kinds of stories, but none seems to stand out to me more than the one of Philip in the book of Acts. We find him in the sixth chapter as a man who is singled out with six others – Stephen, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas. These seven men were identified as ones of “honest report,” full of the Holy Ghost and full of wisdom. Their singular job was to serve tables. Theirs was probably not a glamorous job, but a very important job. By doing their tasks it freed up the twelve disciples to remain in the Word of God.
There is nothing more important in life than knowing what you are called to do, and then doing it with all your heart.
They were recognized for their faithfulness and wisdom. The disciples laid hands on them and prayed for them. The results were astonishing. The Word of God increased, the number of disciples increased, and many priests were obedient to the faith (converts, if you would).
Immediately Stephen is recognized as one who did great wonders and miracles among the people. People he was appointed to serve. It is not noted that he was a preacher, nor a pastor, nor a teacher, or any other great orator. He was full of faith and power. (Acts 6:8) He is brought before the elders and rulers. They are unable to withstand his power of speech. Stephen gives them a history lesson and they feel the conviction of his story, but the respond with a gnashing of teeth upon Stephen. He declares to them a vision and they run upon him ready to demand his life.
Standing in the crowd is one called Saul who was consenting unto Stephens death. Saul. The same one who would later experience his own conversion on the Road to Damascus and his name would be changed to Paul. The great Apostle Paul.
The actions against Stephen caused a backlash amongst the company of believers and they flee Jerusalem. Saul was after them. Entering their homes, sending them to prison. As these faithful followers of Christ leave Jerusalem, scripture does not say they did it in fear. No, they did it by preaching the Word wherever they went.
The result of Stephens death and Saul’s rantings causes the church to complete the Great Commission (Matt 28:19, Acts 1:8). What caused all of this? Those called to serve tables were the ones scripture documents as the instigators for the completion of the commission.
So, where is Philip in all of this? He goes to the city of Samaria and preaches Christ. Simple. Elegant. No hype. No program. No plan. No deputation. No backing. He sees the need and he does what he’s able to do. Preach Christ.
Philip is accomplishing the acronym! “If it is to be, it is up to me.” One person, accomplishing the simple will of Christ can turn a city completely over. It does not take a team. It does not take an organization. It does not even take the local church. Just one person doing what needs to be done.
Many miracles are accomplished. Demons are cast out. Palsies and lame are healed. The result of his accomplishment is that there was “Great Joy” in that city. (Acts 8:8)
- When is the last time that we did what needed to be done and the result produced great miracles and Great Joy?
- When is the last time that a parent sees the need in their child’s life and just does what needs to be done regardless of the complaints of that child?
- When is the last time someone just went to the hospital to pray with people without knowing someone inside that compelled them to go?
- When is the last time someone just sat down next to a homeless or some shut-in and responded to the needs without having a “ministry” to send them to these people?
This is often the problem with the church today. We continually wait on someone else to bring the Joy, instead of being the one to produce the Joy. How can be bring ourselves to the task of IIITBIIUTM? Just Do It…
Perhaps we need to take a close look at our life and ask some hard questions.