The Sin of Inactivity

I recently finished reading Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love, which is all about living a life of obedience and complete surrender to Jesus Christ and subsequently rising above the status quo. 

In the final chapter of the book, Chan shares an important thought that I was rather convicted by. He writes the following:

Most of us use ‘I’m waiting for God to reveal His calling on my life’ as a means of avoiding action. Did you hear God calling you to sit in front of the television yesterday? Or to go on your last vacation? Or excercise this morning? Probably not, but you still did it. The point isn’t that vacations or excercise are wrong, but that we are quick to rationalize our entertainment and priorities yet are slow to commit to serving God’ (p. 169).

This is so true! If you’re like me, there are plenty of opportunities for service that you have missed, or numerous occasions that you have simply failed to obey the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life. To further complicate the issue, we are living in an increasingly narcissistic culture in which the trend is to be only concerned with one’s own self-preservation and pleasure. Sadly, this pervasive spirit has even affected the local church to the point where most Christians are simply content to sit in a pew most Sunday mornings (“as long as something more important does not come up”); perhaps throw a few dollars in the offering plate; and enjoy the “performance” that takes place on stage (so long as it does not go past the noon hour). My question is this… Where is the Church that is feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned? Where is the Church that is loosening the chains that have people bound? Where is the Church that is demonstrating God’s compassionate love, and not just talking about it? Can I tell you, this is the Church that the world is looking for!  

In technical, or theological terms, there is what is called sins of commission and sins of omission. Sins of commission are those particualr acts that we do which we know are wrong and violate God’s laws. These are the one’s that are easy to identify. On the other hand, sins of omission are those non-acts, or not doing what you know you should do, and can be more difficult to spot in our own lives. James 4:17 says, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it” (NLT). Oh yeah, and God’s knows the heart. We can’t fool Him on this one.

So, there are at least three questions that I believe we should consider when dealing with the sin of inactivity…

  1. What are you giving?  This involves your time, treasure, and talents. How about “tithing” 10% in each category?
  2. Who are you serving?  God gives us opportunites all the time to place a higher value on someone else’s life and circumstances over our own. Are you watching for these serving moments? 
  3. Where are you going?  Before He ascened, Jesus gave the following instructions to all of His followers, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matthew 28:19-20, NLT). For you, “going” may mean to your local park or to your next door neighbor. For others it may imply selling your house and moving to another geographic location to reach people with the message of Jesus Christ. That part is entirely between you and God!

Perhaps a fourth question would be appropriate… “When are you going to do these things?”  Whatever your gifts and talents are, they’re meant to be used in service to others. Our abilities are not meant to be squandered on our own selfish desires.  1 Peter 4:10 says, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (NLT). In other words, don’t rob someone else of what you might be able to supply in their time of need.

BE FOREWARNED: You and I WILL BE held accounatble for what we do… and do not do during our time here on earth. Just read Isaiah 58 to see the kind of fast that God approves of and Matthew 25:31-46 regarding the separation of the sheep from the goats. Then join with me in repenting of the sin of inactivity.

In Luke 19:13 we are encouraged to “occupy” or to “stay busy” until Christ returns. Will He find you faithful? I don’t know about you, but I’m convicted by the fact that I have not fully lived up to these heavenly expectations. Will I change? Will you change? I guess only time will tell…