When I was a kid I had an under-powered BB gun, with which I terrorized the local wildlife. Rarely did I hit anything, and one bunny-rabbit figured that out. He was the Bugs to my Elmer. I would stand on a hill about 30 yards away from him, pump my gun 10 times, chamber a BB, take aim, and fire… I could see that BB spiral off into the woods, and the rabbit sat there and continued to chew on my dad’s garden. Sometimes I would crawl through my mom’s flower garden, poke my head out, take aim at my nemesis, and fire. The BB ricocheted off a tulip, and Bugs sat there. I tried for weeks, and couldn’t seem to make good on my threats.
One day, during my normal barrage, the rabbit sat there completely content; knowing that he could easily outrun me if I charged with my BB gun raised as a club. After 3 or 4 volleys, I raised my gun one final time, (before I chose to charge) took aim, and fired… This time I saw the BB head right for that rabbit’s hind-quarters. It connected. It bounced off.
The rabbit was shocked! He leaped 6′ in the air, did a back flip, and left a trail of shredded grass behind him on his way back to the brush-pile.
Complacency kills… unless it involves my BB gun.
I have one simple encouragement in this post: be careful of spiritual complacency.
Spiritual complacency happens when we are used to doing things a certain way, and we continue that way week after week, year after year; we master our method, and struggle to see new possibilities or problems.
Whenever I delete one app from my phone, I can’t find most of them… They get all shifted around and get out of place! Same is true when I am looking for an app I haven’t used in months; I can look directly at it, and not see it.
That’s what familiarity does; makes us blind. We overlook things we once thought were important. We can sing an incredible song, but we tend to run through it like it’s nothing. We can plod through our ministries without pouring our hearts into them, just “doing our duty.” We can read the Bible without intention to see God’s glory, and walk away unchanged.
Autopilot is bad for you, and everyone around you.
Complacency in our ministry kills the people we are supposed to win; because we don’t take our opportunities to introduce people to the Savior. we think God is pleased by our extreme effort as a “pew-warmer,” when in fact, the pulpit ministry is aimed at us.
Hopefully the preaching hits a little harder than my BB gun…
During this pandemic, churches have been shaken. The normal Modus Operandi has been temporarily suspended, and only the essentials have been retained: the ministry of the Word, and prayer. From this basis, a church has the responsibility to be creative in getting that ministry to the community. We have seen many exciting methods emerge from the necessity; some of which would have been seen as terribly “Un-traditional” had this crisis never happened. Many churches are rising to the challenge, investing in their internet abilities, and people all over the world are being impacted online during their quarantine. Others are finding creative ways of meeting publicly!
This time of slowness will pass, and we will return to our normal swing. I really hope that we, the Church, will not return to our gatherings unchanged by this time; but we will take a fresh look at our role in God’s program, and refuse to take the easy road of complacency.