In a time when doing is so much more important than listening we see churches have awesome worship and awesome preaching and no movement. What is wrong and why is this happening? We have become great listeners, but very poor doers. This is the heart of apathy. Apathy (def) - lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. In preaching to the church at Laodicea Jesus laid out it out in Revelation 3:14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation:15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. The message is clear. "You think you have it all together, but your gold or value is fools gold and not the gold that has been refined by fire." In other words, we have become very proud of ourselves with no resulting change when it comes to service and buy in. Oh some will serve when it benefits them, but not pure service that comes from a refined relationship with Jesus. That mentality is the same mentality people have when they don't get what they want and "pick up their toys and go home!" It stems from a selfish heart and many times it is disguised as something very spiritual, but it is just what Jesus called it when writing to the church in Laodicea. It is lukewarm!
James wrote these words in James 1:22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. So there is the possibility we are fooling ourselves in the way we do the Christian life if we believe we have no need for buy-in. I am not talking about buy-in that is self promoting and only helpful to us, but buy-in that comes from a totally sold out, red hot commitment to be a poured out as an offering to Jesus. A guy in an Arkansas church I was serving in is a good example of someone who was in it for themselves. He would suggest doing something that would self promote him and his ministry and he would pour his heart and time into doing this one thing, but when I asked him to help in the overall ministry of the church he was a no show!! Instead of pouring into the work of the church, he was sucking it out of the church for his own agenda. To those who were watching he seemed to be so committed, but only committed to what he thought was worthy of his time. He just wouldn't put his agenda aside and just "serve" and it caused a lot of anxiety for all of our leadership, because people didn't see the real reason for very specific serving and he finally got tired of not being "the guy" and left the church and our fellowship began to grow. So never underestimate the damage an apathetic servant can make when they are just dabbling into what they think is the most important thing and "buck" at serving God with the whole fellowship.
James hit the nail on the head when saying don't just be listeners, but doers, and I try to buck that all the time when leading worship. Instead of just giving in to not challening people to sing out I could just say "sit back and let us bless you with our voices" but that would be succumbing to the wrong fools gold. You see that was the main problem for the church at Laodicea, and it is the present main problem in the modern day church. The true "refined gold" or heart for serving the Lord is all about serving with the Lord's agenda and not just one person's agenda. Don't just listen to the Word of God, but do what it says. Don't just pick out the parts you like and leave the rest out because it doesn't fit your agenda. Follow the "whole" Word of God and let God do a great work in your life and you will see your agenda line up with God's and His Will will become your will. But be ready for change, because He will probably show you something radically different than what you think, but that will be good. Don't fool yourself. God is going to do the best and most efficient thing to get the gospel out and His ways are much higher than our ways.
The Pilgrimage Continues...