It happens ever year at Thanksgiving time…I spend time with family and we gather around the feeding trough to prepare for a day of grazing. I may start with the perfectly carved turkey, and move on to the sides that will fit on my plate at the time. By the end of the day, I am making turkey sandwiches that have to be warmed up.
Throughout this exhausting day, I also tend to take the time for a nap on a nearby padded accommodation. At the time, this seems like a good idea. The next day, however, I immerge from my coma lethargic and feeling as if I need to be carried whereever I go. I also find myself getting cranky, and not feeling right. I think this story is true for many people.
Many churches today have this same ailment when dealing with the spiritual condition of their people. Some will sit in the seats each Sunday, and desire to be spiritually fed. They would rather sit in these seats and keep “eating” until they feel lethargic and unwilling to move. A few symptoms of this sickness is apathy regarding the work of the church, and constant criticism. These will both lead to burnout of the Christian. The fact is if believers do nothing to exercise their gifts and what they are being fed, then preaching at a group of stoic Christians that have lost their joy will do no one any good.
When churches become spiritually obese, then you hear phrases like “we need to start worrying about the people here before we start reaching out.” Or, “why do we need this new ministry…we tried it 10 years ago and it failed…” Church…..it is time to get off our rumps and start doing what God has called us to do. We will get more nourishment out of feeding others than we will just sitting in the seats every Sunday.