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March 4, 2017

TEXT:  “How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,  and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” Proverbs 6:9-11

The church never advertised for the “lazy”, “part-timers”, nor “slackers.”. Oh, it was expecting some “gold-bricks”, and “coffee drinkers”, and “loafers”. There is evidence of some early saints who displayed attitudes and unhelpful behaviors that undermined the work of the reputation of the body of Christians. Ananias and Sapphira posed themselves as large benefactors, but concealed the real amount of their donation. Peter said they had attempted to “Test the Spirit of the Lord”, and that they had “…not lied to men, but to God.” Acts  5:19; Act 5:4 The former sorcerer Simon attempted to bribe Peter and John for powers to franchise the power of the Holy Spirit. All of these were aggrandizing themselves at the expense of the church.  Others do nothing for the Lord’s church. They wish to be cases for public assistance at the Lord’s church and blighten the work of the church. “For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.”  II Thessalonians 3:11

When someone in the church suggests that a work be pared down,  we are in danger of assuming that God is willing to settle for partial obedience. However, partial obedience is failed obedience!  Jesus told a story about a shepherd who owned 100 sheep. He counted and found, however, one was missing. Surely others would be born into the flock. He could stand the loss of one. But his diligence is rewarded when he leaves the 99 and  goes to retrieve the lost.  Luke 15:4-7  

Once your feet become bogged  into this soggy indolence your listless nature will be easily recognized  and your inaction will be mocked.  Your sloth and carelessness will have become an open joke. Change for the better will not be expected to occur. Churches turn to this behavior like their members.  Some slothful members can brand their congregation to be sluggish. The church of  Laodicea described in the book of Revelation was associated with the rich and luxurious reputation in which that church was settled. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!   So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16

The dwindling of your activity will drain you of your commitment. When you lose your involvement you will lose your energy and effort. Yes, the energy to participate fuels the achievement of you goals. When you don’t have the  anticipation of starting the engine,  there is no ignition to make this new season.  After a home leave for reporting the successes of the first mission tour, Paul and Barnabas  were revving up to get to the evangelizing going again in Syria and Cyllicia westward. “And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” Acts 15:36

Eventually you will  reach the plateau of resignation. Here is a point where you may feel remorse for quitting. There is so much more work of the church with which you need to be involved, but you have let your purpose wither and die. Have you abandoned the enthusiasm you embraced when you began? “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”  Romans 12:11

Here is a great quote from a recent article by Doug Parsons.

God is not looking for ability as much as He is looking for availability. Would you be a person who would say, “Lord, I don’t have much to offer, but what I have, Lord, I offer to you”? Then just watch what God will do.”  



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