The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
One of the great maladies of mankind is apathy. Apathy is defined as a lack of feeling or interest.
In the world a cause of apathy is broken or delayed promises. We become disinterested when we are promised certain things and they are ignored or delayed. When someone makes a promise, we expect it to be kept. Further, we insist that it be kept within the time frame of our perceived need.
The church seems to be no different from the world in this respect. God has made a promise of judgment for all that is unrighteous.
The Psalmist looked at the prosperity of the wicked and complained that the evil ones never seem to get their “just rewards”, Psalm 73.
Throughout the life of the Old Testament Church, the people of God became apathetic toward God and His word. Therefore, God spoke through His Prophets calling for repentance. His people turned to idols and/or men to meet their perceived needs. Their apathy like ours was and is rooted in sin, specifically the sin of unbelief. We doubt that God will do what He said. We doubt because time passes and nothing changes.
Christians profess that God’s word is true and reliable. Yet, we often live as though we’re not sure God will do what He has said. Evil persists in the world and it too often appears to win! Where are You God, the Prophet Habakkuk asked? “You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?” Habakkuk 1:13.
God responded to the Prophet, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end – it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay,” Habakkuk 2:2. Likewise, Isaiah wrote God’s words of certainty concerning His promises. “They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint,” Isaiah 40:31. The Apostle Peter writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit said, “Do not overlook this fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance, “ 2Peter 3:8-9.
Peter assured the Church that all those whom God chose from the foundation of the earth, the elect, would be saved. We trust that God will save His people in accordance with His promise. He will bring them, the elect to repentance and faith.
Often, impatience turns to despair which leads to apathy toward God and His word. If we can’t trust God to save those whom He chose, then what can we trust God to do? Either, God is always faithful to His word or He’s Not God! Yet apathy persists in the church. Perhaps the most evident demonstration of this sinful condition is Corporate Worship.
The book of Hebrews is filled with warnings for the church. The church is warned not have hard hearts when the word of God is heard; the church is warned not to persist in sin; the church is warned to keep meeting for worship. All of these warnings are necessary because of our tendency to be nearsighted concerning the promises of God. We fail to live with an eternal perspective. We allow the world to press in on us and cause us to change our priorities. We know that all those who have experienced the grace of God are called to offer themselves to God as living sacrifices. We know that God is sovereign. He has planned our steps. He chose us out of sinful mankind to be His own possession. We know that God has made us new creations and that He has caused us to be dead to self in order to follow Jesus. We know that God made us to worship Him.
Guard yourself against apathy. Remind yourself of the absolute faithfulness of God to His word. Worship Him with God’s people as the top priority and blessing of life!