Have we grown complacent?
The Christian life is one of surrender. We proclaim a life given totally to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Like the Apostle Paul, we testify that we are bondservants of Jesus; he is our master. As we pray, we bow our heads in honor and bend our knees in submission to the Lord. We rightfully acknowledge Jesus as the King of kings. Our words and postures may communicate a life of surrender, but what about our actions, the very things that prove our faithfulness to the one who judges hearts and lives?
Jesus said that the weightier matters of the law are justice, mercy and faithfulness (Matthew 23:23). He is attentive to our faithfulness. He longs to reward us for fidelity, promising that those who are faithful unto death, he will give the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
Our faithfulness is directly connected to our understanding of God’s faithfulness towards us—Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23) Our faithfulness is worship expressed to Jesus, who is proven to be perfectly faithful.
Such faithfulness to Christ is meant to be stirred up by other faithful followers of Christ at MeadowBrook, who purposefully meet together weekly (Hebrews 10:24-25). This encouragement and stirring up of faithfulness is meant to increase as the day of the Lord’s appearing draws closer.
As the time draws closer for the second coming of Christ Jesus, the church is meant to be more narrowly focused on the eternal tasks at hand. The words of Jesus are picturesque and clear: 35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. (Luke 12:35-36)
I am afraid that many people are like the complacent servant who knew his master’s will and his impending return, but did not get ready or act according to the will of his lord (Luke 12:47) Such a servant is strongly disciplined.
Has the twenty-first century church forgotten the call and action of the first-century believers like Peter and Andrew, who immediately left their fishing nets and followed Jesus? Have we forgotten the words of Jesus, who offered us salvation with these words, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) Do the words of Jesus still echo in our minds—whoever loses his life for my sake will find it?
“No, of course not, Randy, we remember clearly,” you may say. But what is the testimony of your actions?
My heart is troubled when a sermon falls on empty seats on Sunday because of sporting events on Saturday. I have a twinge of spiritual nausea when I see someone wandering away from The Brook because they didn’t seem to “connect.” I am deeply bothered by my own heart and life that is as described by the hymn “Come Thou Fount:” “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.”
I have discovered that following Jesus is not possible while carrying or dragging around things of the world. Fishermen couldn’t drag around their nets if they were going to become fishers of men with Jesus (Matthew 4:20). A rich young ruler couldn’t follow and serve with Jesus while carrying around his wealth (Matthew 19:21). Matthew couldn’t follow Jesus while chasing a career and money (Matthew 9:9). The Samaritan woman couldn’t follow Jesus while chasing men (John 4).
We all must lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).
MeadowBrook and other churches should take to heart the call of Jesus to the church of Sardis, saying: “I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.” (Revelation 3:1-3 ESV)
What are you carrying or dragging around that impedes your ability to faithfully follow Jesus? Is there anything that Jesus Christ is calling you to lay aside in order to be faithful and effective in your kingdom service? Do you find yourself in a state of spiritual slumber? If so, then hear the sounding alarm of the Spirit and wake up. Do it without delay, for our Master may come when you least expect him.
May we each be found faithful.