Sunday

Are Christians Lazy?

I was walking along the lake this morning, praying. (Trust me, 6:30 AM in February qualifies as “the cool of the day!”) As we walked, he brought back to my mind a hope, a dream really, regarding ministry that He and I had talked about decades ago. I realized that I’ve seen nothing come of it.
I need to explain something before I go too much further here. I’m a direct communicator. God knows this and seems to not be offended by it. He sometimes speaks directly with me; it works for us.
So I’m reflecting on this ministry dream, and it crosses my mind that it hasn’t come to pass; in fact, I’ve known several folks with similar dream, and theirs hasn’t come about yet either. Hmmm. Oh look, it’s beginning to snow.
And the voice of the Holy Spirit whispers in the back of my thoughts: “That’s because my people are lazy.”
Whoa. Suddenly He had my attention, and he unfolded a series of thoughts in my mind, like a slideshow; no, more like an MTV video clip: fast, active, and full of energy. I feel the need to share some of those thoughts.
In many ways, the work of the Western Church has been functionally indistinguishable from the work of the secular world in which we live. Not completely, of course, but in some critical ways. We’ve often governed our congregations by political process (show me one place in the Word where the people voted; there is one, but it’s not our model). We’ve accomplished what we considered the work of the Kingdom, but we’ve been directed by our own goals and we reached them by our own strength.
There’s been a growing movement in the church that has rejected the concept of using the arm of the flesh to accomplish the work of the Spirit, and encouraged a more Spirit-led model of ministry. For example, we don’t often see Jesus setting goals and forming committees; rather, we hear Him talk about doing and speaking only “what He sees the Father doing,” and we see the supernatural results that He had, and we want to be like Him!
Then we read the story of Mary and Martha, and we hear Jesus rebuke Martha and affirm Mary, and we think, “Well, I should sit at His feet, not run around working hard, or He’ll rebuke me too.”
Unfortunately, what worked for Him turns into religion and passivity in us. We become religious because we forsake our vision for the marketplace for “more spiritual” vision. We become passive when we look at Jesus’ statements as if He sits around waiting for God to give Him direction.
A verse that has driven us is poorly translated Isaiah 40:31: But those who wait on 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. We see “wait” and we think about sitting in the lobby of the doctor’s office reading antiquated news-magazines, and that’s made us lazy. The Hebrew word actually means “to wait or to look for with eager expectation,” and is the root word for the making rope: becoming intertwined. When Jesus “waited”, He did it early in the morning or late at night: He worked hard to wait, to intertwine Himself with Father. Maybe that’s the reason that we don’t accomplish as much as He: we don’t work as hard at waiting.
I’ve encountered an attitude that appears to be uncomfortably commonplace among believers, particularly among believers who believe in and like to associate with the power of God. We wouldn’t put it this way, but it’s accurate: we kind of wait for God to hand us our dreams on a silver platter.
There’s a reason that Bill Gates or Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton are as successful as they are, despite the fact that they don’t (as far as anyone knows) spend much time waiting on God: they work hard.
We as believers should work as hard as unbelievers work, though certainly we don’t worship market dominance, wealth, or power as they do. Jesus didn’t rebuke Martha for working; He rebuked Martha for dismissing Mary’s choice as insignificant, or for working without having spent time sitting at His feet first. He never said, “Be more like Mary,” perhaps because if we all did nothing more than sit at Jesus’ feet, nothing would get done. I rather suspect that the goal is to be like both Martha and Mary. As Mike Bickle says, “Lovers make better workers.”
I hear people complain that if they take the time to be with God, time to be with their family, time for church, then the won’t have time to do the work of the kingdom. First, I suspect that’s more of an excuse than a reality, at least in the lives of some who have made that complaint to me. And second, I’ve become willing to suggest that we seriously cut back on the number of services we attend in order to spend more time with God, with family, and in the work of the kingdom.
So, to answer the question that I posed in the title of this posting, yes, I think Christians (including myself) are lazy, and we’re lazy because we have been poorly instructed. When we learn who we are in Christ, when we learn that it is our work to reign with Him, when we figure out that “waiting” has more to do with warfare than it does with killing time, then I think we’ll find our dreams come to pass, our promises fulfilled, and His kingdom come.

4 comments:

Josh said...

Wow this is super relevant to what I was just wondering. How can I pass a really hard test that is coming up, and still maintain my close connection with God. Simply work as hard as possible to achieve both. I guess we spend way to much time thinking about how to not work then we would just doing the tasks we are trying to accomplish. Thanks for this article I am going to link back to it. Very awesome article!

Josh
joshvanhouten.blogspot.com
God's work in my life!

richard aronson said...

Mary is a beautiful example of waiting on the Lord except for one thing. She sat at His feet physically. I can't do that. I can't sit at His physical feet and stare at Him with amazing love but I can always stir up my love for Him and expect His love to overflow in me as I wait, expect and gather to Him.

I can wait on the Lord as I sit and write this comment. A mother can wait on the Lord as she nurses her infant. A mechanic can wait on the Lord as he replaces a motor. It really is easy to wait on Him no matter where we are because wherever we go, there He is. My groom is always with me. I need only close my eyes for 10 seconds and picture my beloved there before I can sense Hi embrace.

Yes, Christians are lazy. We are lazy in practicing the pursuit of God in the midst of the common and the mundane. Too many people think they need the perfect environment to experience intimacy with Jesus and yet Stephen, in the midst of being stoned, say his beloved standing at the right hand of the Father and worshiped Him.

All I want to do is turn my eyes to the one that is alluring my heart. He says that we are betrothed for ever. That means that I have eternity to explore and enjoy this phenomenal love relationship. Yeah, I am going to wait on the Lord everyday, all the time, everywhere I am because no matter where I am, there is my beloved.

Josh said...

Richard,

That is intense on a whole new level and that really relates to todays post on my blog. Believing is Seeing you should check it out if you have a second. Thank you for the awesome post and waiting and leaning are different things. I feel that this article is referring to not doing anything in the hopes of achieving anything. "Idol hands are works of the devil"

Great standpoint in relation to this article though.

Josh
joshvanhouten.blogspot.com
God's work in my life!

Anonymous said...

Ahaha, that's a very interestuing new perspective I never heard about. THanks for sharing.