Laurence J. Peter (who formulated the famous “Peter Principle”) said, “There are two kinds of failures: those who thought and never did, and those who did and never thought.”

I suspect most of us had failed in both ways. We’ve all had times when we rushed into action to solve a problem, only to realize that our instincts were misguided. We acted without thinking and created a bigger mess than when we started.

At other times, we ponder a problem to death. We think, we research, we think some more, we look it up on YouTube, Wikipedia, and Amazon trying to find the perfect solution. But by the time we find a solution, either the problem went away, or somebody else fixed it.

We often think without acting, and act without thinking.

Christianity is a religion of both thought and action. Obviously, there’s much about our faith that must be done. As the book of James said, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1.22). It’s not enough to listen to a good sermon or a good Bible class, we must act upon what we hear. James reminds us that it’s not the teacher’s responsibility or the preacher’s, but the listener’s responsibility to act.

I may feel strongly that my congregation needs to be more friendly. But if I never speak to anyone outside my circle of acquaintances, or if I never invite someone into my home, nothing will ever change. I’m thinking about something but doing nothing about it. 

But Christianity is also a thoughtful religion. We must think about certain things and cultivate certain attitudes. The apostle Paul said, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, [let your mind] dwell on these things” (Philippians 4.8). In biblical thought, attitudes precede actions. If you want to do the right kind of things, you need to think the right kind of thoughts. 

When I was a volunteer fireman, I learned about scene safety. Rather than just jumping in to rescue a potential victim, I was taught to look at the situation and determine the safest, most effective way to respond. Jumping into a dangerous situation without looking may make for great movies, but in real life it creates potential disasters. 

So, what God wants from us each and every day is to think about what we’re doing, and act upon what we’re thinking.