Be Positive

Be Positive

James 2:14-17


Those of you who have been able to listen to the Wednesday Word of Encouragement know that I have been reading John Maxwell’s book “Intentional Living: Choosing A Life That Matters”. It has been a good book especially with the new message series we have coming up entitled “Stay Positive.”


John Maxwell is one of the most positive people I know but his positivity isn’t quite the same as Norman Vincent Peale’s “Power of Positive Thinking” or perhaps it is and Peale has just been misunderstood. One point that stands out to be in Maxwell’s writings is that “Positive thinking doesn’t build self-image. Positive acts do!” With my apologies to Mr. Maxwell, I might add to that, Positive thinking does no one any good until it moves us to positive acts.


Most people, even non-baseball know the name Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in baseball and may have done as much to move our nation into the acceptance of equality between races as much as anyone outside of Martin Luther King.


Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in 1919, into a family of sharecroppers in Cairo, Georgia. The youngest of five children Robinson’s father left the family in 1920 and they moved to Pasadena, California. Growing up in relative poverty in an otherwise affluent community, Robinson and his minority friends were excluded from many recreational opportunities. Branch Rickey signed Robison to a major league contract out of a list of other budding young black athletes not totally on his baseball skills but on his attitude. Rickey wanted this to be a success and knew that if Robinson lashed back at the insults and racial slurs then everything would fall to pieces.


Robinson endured and succeeded but not without difficulty, but he did so because he saw the bigger picture. He was not just a baseball player; he was an example for other athletes of all colors. Robinson said, “Life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Robinson understood that he could have a positive attitude, but the real test was on how he acted on the field, how he reacted to the insults and slurs even the violence against him. There were a lot of great baseball players in the Negro Leagues, but Robinson understood that it was more than just playing baseball. It was the way he lived his life that counted.


The apostle James said it best, What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14-17)