An epidemic of apathy has filled the church. Consumed with worldly passions and pursuits, the modern parishioner gets more upset about a red light than he does the red flames of hell. It’s not that we are lacking in passion, it is just that our passion has become misappropriated. Instead of channeling our resources, thoughts, energy, zeal, and affection to the building of God’s kingdom, we have sidetracked our lives with the glory of our own empire.
Self Centeredness and Self-Love
The root of apathy grows in the soil of self-centeredness and produces a harvest of indifference. Serving God and mammon has never been an option for the genuine child of the kingdom. One cannot carry the cross, feel the splinters of denial, assume the position of heaven’s bond-slave and do it with a nonchalant stroll. But strolling we are. Strolling to the tune of meaningless drivel.
Yes, apathy is the result of self-love. Our generation has bought into the “me-first” and “me-only” worldview. The self-centered life turns away any thought or notion of sacrifice or loss. Unwilling to take any spiritual risk we slouch and slump our way through church, through ministry, through worship, and through devotion. We yawn our way through preaching yet grow disturbingly excited when we have a Facebook notification. And because the apathetic life hates confrontation, we determine to give and do just enough to ease the conscience. So we don’t get out of church, we just stop liking it. We don’t stop carrying our Bibles, we just stop living it. We don’t stop calling ourselves believers, we just don’t have faith for anything in particular.
Waking Up from the Slumber
Like Lazarus of Bethany, we have grown sick, not overnight, but sick nonetheless. And the sickness has diminished our panting for God. It is true, Jesus was going to come to Lazarus, but not once do you find Lazarus ever wanting to get to Jesus. And so in that condition, he died. He died as a friend of Jesus, but he died nonetheless.
The culture is calling for you to wake up. The church needs you to wake up. The cross demands you to wake up. By the grace and help of God, get stirred. Walk away from the shade of lethargy’s canopy. Return to the first love and remember the tender passion He placed within you during those first hours of redemption. Love regardless of outcome, serve regardless of cost, give regardless of dividend, and follow regardless of destination. Hear the voice of the Nazarene weeping by your graveside. Listen closely for His call. His power can overcome the dullest, darkest, and most distant Christian.