One of my favorite movies of all time is Hook. Have you ever seen it? It’s the story of Peter Pan, but unlike the cartoon version, it has real-life people playing the characters. In this version of the story, Peter grew up to be a boring lawyer named Peter Banning. When his kids were captured by Captain Hook the pirate, Peter Banning had to go back to Neverland to rescue them. The problem at the beginning of the movie is that Peter forgot who he was. He forgot he was Peter Pan. We all forget who we are at times.
The whole movie is great, but my favorite part is when Peter Banning has dinner with the Lost Boys on his first night back in Neverland. He sits down at the table, smells delicious food, and is ready to dig in. When the Lost Boys remove the lids from the platters, Peter is confused—there’s nothing there! All around him he sees the Lost Boys chomping away on seemingly invisible food, and he’s confused about why he can’t also see the food.
The problem was this: Peter was just watching the Lost Boys eat. Peter needed to participate before he could see the food. In order to believe the way the Lost Boys did, he had to do what they did.
I think that faith can be the same way. In order to believe, we can’t just learn things about Jesus. We need to do things with Him. We need to get to the do part. I’ve met with the same group of guys every Friday morning for over ten years. When we’re together, we certainly learn things about Jesus, but we’re not there to study Him. Studying is good, but by itself it’s just like Peter Banning sitting at the dinner table and not eating a thing. Our faith becomes real when do what we believe.
Instead of a Bible study, my friends and I meet every Friday morning to have a Bible doing. We read the things that Jesus taught, and then we go out and put them into action in our day-to-day lives. We try to do the big things Jesus talked about and the small ones too. Every time we do the things Jesus talked about instead of just talking about them, something changes in us. It’s like we can see the food at the Lost Boys’ dinner. Jesus has set that kind of feast in front of us and hopes we’ll all be part of it.
One of the things we’ll do at the Bible doing is think of ways we can understand our faith better by doing something. I’ll give you one example. A lot of times, the position of our bodies can affect the position of our hearts and minds. Try this: hold your hands in really tight fists in front of you. Couldn’t you get really angry at someone if your fists were clinched? Now try holding your hands palms up, with your fingers stretched out in front of you. It’s harder to be angry, isn’t it? I’ve experienced faith to be the same way. When I put faith into action with my body, then my heart and mind follow along.
I don’t think Jesus wants us to just agree with Him. I think He wants us to take what He taught His friends and turn it into action. When we actually do the things that Jesus said—giving food to people who are hungry, being generous with our time and money, or being nice to people who are mean to us—our hearts will follow our actions, and our faith will become real!