As a teenager I spent many summer days lazing around Ocean Beach Park in New London, Connecticut. I loved sitting on the shore, gazing out over Long Island Sound, watching sailboats cutting through foam-capped waves.
There were times, though, when the wind stopped blowing and the sailboats just sat waiting for the next gust. Without wind there was no forward motion. The boats just bobbed back and forth, almost motionless.
Many churches I know are in the doldrums. They seem to be bobbing around motionless, not going anywhere. Some Christians are like that too. They haven’t given up their faith, but they’re no longer passionate about it. Apathy has replaced a vibrant commitment to the living Christ.
What do you do when you’ve reached a spiritual plateau, when Christianity seems boring, when the life-giving wind of the Spirit no longer refreshes your life?
The simple answer is, well, just pray more, or study your Bible more. However, may I remind you that the Pharisees studied the ancient Scriptures and prayed all day. Yet many of them rejected Jesus’ teachings and were willing to put Him to death.
Jesus provides us with an important key to a vibrant spiritual life. He said, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).
To walk in the footsteps of Jesus is to give our lives in loving ministry to others. Apathy is transformed into passion when we use our God-given gifts to meet others’ needs in Jesus’ name. Like oil and water, apathy and service do not mix. n