I’d rather be despised or even have my life threatened by the people I am ministering to than try to minister to a sea of vacant and indifferent faces.
I’ve been in a program of study for a couple of years to be a minister (I have a few more years to go before I am finished). The last two classes I took were on preaching. It isn’t easy to get up in front of people and speak. It makes it even harder when the people you are speaking to aren’t listening.
Today, I visited a different church and sat in the back and off to the side. While listening to the Pastor’s sermon I observed the congregation.
Now, I’ll give a little bit of the benefit of the doubt here. I know people are tired and busy and I know these days we are short on attention spans, but I saw heads down with phones in hand, I saw people yawning, and I saw (from an angle to one side of the church) faces that were physically there but looks that proved their minds were elsewhere. And I’ve seen this in many churches throughout my life.
At one point in the sermon, the Pastor mentioned a missionary woman whose husband was killed by the tribe to which he was trying to minister. This woman, after her husband’s death, went back to that country and continued to minister to the people who killed her husband. And as I looked around at the faces of those people in that church, as I thought about faces I see every Sunday and about my own inattentiveness at times, I found myself thinking that I’d rather be despised or even have my life threatened by the people I am ministering to than try to minister to a sea of vacant and indifferent faces.
I don’t know if I am in the wrong with this line of thinking. Perhaps I am. And perhaps this is just a step in the process of working out what God would have me do for Him. But indifference and apathy have always been pet-peeves of mine. Surely, this struggle cannot be for nothing. Perhaps it’s the thing that bothers us, when filtered through Wisdom and Godly-Insight, that encourages us in the direction God is leading us. Perhaps my role is to encourage people, who claim to know God, to wake up. Wake up! You’re either hot or cold. Indifference is lukewarm. Lukewarm will get you nowhere.