Every Sunday the ducks would waddle out of their houses and waddle down Main Street to their church. They waddled into the sanctuary and sat in their proper pews.
The duck choir waddled in and took its place, and then the duck minister came forward and opened the duck Bible.
He read to them…
“Ducks! God has given you wings! With wings you can fly! With wings you can mount up and soar like eagles. No walls can confine you! No fence can hold you! You have wings. God has given you wings and you can fly like birds.”
All the ducks shouted “AMEN!” and they all waddled home.
Too often the 21st-century church is composed of people who face the same challenge as in this fictional story. It’s the same problem the church at Laodicea faced when John, by divine inspiration, wrote this warning:
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (Rev. 3:15-16
As I’m writing this post, I’m drinking a cup of coffee. Its gotten lukewarm. And so I microwave it. I like it hot. Occasionally I will drink an iced coffee. But not lukewarm.
Being spiritually lukewarm is distasteful to the Lord. It describes the sin of apathy. Indifference. And unconcern. It has often been observed, “the greatest danger to our future is apathy.” This is true politically. Socially. Economically. And spiritually.
The brethren in Laodicea were in grave danger. But they didn’t know it. They thought they were doing great. However, they had lost their spiritual vigor. Their values were misplaced. And their vision was blinded. They were deceived and deluded by their material prosperity and their physical well being.
It’s possible for an entire congregation to meet regularly for worship. To teach the truth. To follow the divine pattern. To go through the scriptural motions. Yet, to lack passion. To be outwardly affected but not inwardly aroused. To become distant in their walk with God. Detached from the fellowship of the brethren. And disinterested in the wayward and the lost.
The 19th-century preacher Clovis Chappell expressed the problem this way. “It is a sad day for any congregation when those who compose it can be counted on to be there at the social function, there at the place of business, but cannot be counted on when the interests of the Kingdom are at stake and when the Son of God goes forth to war.”
Individually, we may be a part of the active and energetic church, yet our personal enthusiasm and interest in spiritual matters has weakened and waned. And, we are not just talking about church attendance or joyful worship.
Are you engaged in the discipline of discipleship through regular Bible study, daily prayer and developing the fruit of the spirit?
Are you seeking and seizing opportunities to do good through the avenue of ministry?
Are you enjoying the fellowship of Christians beyond the confines of the church building?
Are you sharing your faith and letting your light shine to a world lost in sin?
Are you examining your life? Your heart? Your spiritual relationship? And working to make corrections and effective the necessary change?
Is your life grounded in the faith? Inspired by your eternal hope? And expressed by divine love?
Your responsiveness to the above questions may well be an indicator of your spiritual lethargy.
William Osler was right when he wrote, “By far the most dangerous foe we have to fight is apathy – indifference from whatever cause, not from a lack of knowledge, but from carelessness, from absorption in other pursuits, from a contempt bred of self-satisfaction.”
If you find yourself in a state of indifference, take heed to John’s exhortation: “Be zealous and repent.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman