Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, shared why he believes real spirituality is practical and highlighted the importance of finding such a balance.
“Sometimes, Christians go to one of two extremes,” Laurie said. “We become either hyper-spiritual, everything spiritual, and we pray and we pray and we pray and we talk about it, and we never execute.”
“Or,” he said, “we become so practical we forget about God, and we take the credit personally. We need a plan, and then we need to pray that God will help us with that plan if that is the plan He has given to us.”
“We have to find a balance,” he asserted.
As a humorous illustration, Laurie shared the story of three men who encountered a violent, rushing river while hiking. Unable to get to the other side of the river, the first man prayed, “God, give me strength to cross the river!”
Instantly, the man grew massive, muscular arms and legs — so he swam across the river in two hours and successfully made it to the other side.
The second man prayed, “God, I pray that you would give me the strength and the tools to cross the river.” He, too, was given the bulging biceps and legs, along with a little canoe with paddles.
“It took him a little less time, but he got over the river in about an hour” despite capsizing twice, Laurie said.
The third man prayed, “Lord, give me the strength, give me the tools, and give me the intelligence to cross the river.”
That man, Laurie said, turned into a woman.
“She looked at the map, walked a couple a hundred yards, and walked over the bridge that had been there the whole time.”
“There’s a place for the practical and there’s a place for the spiritual,” he concluded.
Earlier, Laurie further explained that real spirituality is, in fact, practical.
He pointed to the old expression that states, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good.”
“My counterpoint to that is, some are so earthly minded they’re no heavenly good,” he said.
“I think when you’re really heavenly minded, when you’re really living for Christ, you will be of the greatest earthly good,” Laurie argued, quoting C.S. Lewis, who once said, “the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next world.”
“I think that’s true,” he said. “You think about the great hospitals and the great universities and other things that have been done historically in our country. In almost every case, at least in their original state, they were started by followers of Jesus Christ.”
“You look at the great relief organizations in the world today, they’re Christian organizations,” he continued. “Christians are always on the front line wherever people are suffering. It doesn’t matter if they believe or if they don’t believe. It doesn’t matter if they’re Christian or if they’re Muslim or if they’re Buddhists – if there’s a tragedy, if there’s a calamity, Christians give, Christians help, Christians are always doing these things.”
“When’s the last time you heard of an atheist relief organization?” Laurie asked. “Heathen Purse – there’s no such thing. But there’s Samaritan’s Purse, isn’t there. Non-Believer’s Vision, no, I’ve never heard of them, but I’ve heard of World Vision.”
“They don’t care,” he concluded. “There might be some out there, there might be some exception, but by and large, it’s believers out there doing this work. Real spirituality is practical.”