We are involved in Sunday school, multiple worship services, small group meetings and fellowship meals… we are listening to Christian radio, music, sermons, internet broadcasts, and podcasts… reading Christian books, blogs, commentaries, emails, newsletters and magazines… watching youtube, televangelists, debates, and live broadcasts… attending revivals, retreats, conferences, seminars, and concerts.
Are we not stinking sponges? Absorbing and sponging in everything spiritual while giving very little back to the people around us. It seems to me that we are guilty of perfecting our systematic theology while our neighbors are dying in their sin. I know a man whose wife has just been released from the hospital after an attempted suicide. For the past year, as she has sunk deeper and deeper into depression, he has been taking theology classes online.
Recently a friend of mine committed suicide. I had a sobering experience speaking with his mother who said to me: “He didn’t think that he had one true friend that really loved him.” I had spent time with him and knew for over a year that he was manically depressed and contemplating suicide. Yet as I survey the past year, shamefully I realize that I spent very little time truly trying to reach out to him. Now it is too late.
I’m not opposed to theology classes, and we obviously should study to show ourselves approved (2 Tim 2:15), but as often as God tells us to study Him and delight in His law, He commands us to go, tell, preach, snatch the lost from the fire, and make disciples.
Our excuses are as equally deceptive as they are pervasive. Perhaps we can examine some here and see what God has to say about them:
“Evangelism just isn’t my gift”
And He [Jesus] said to them [His disciples], "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. — Mark 16:15
“I’m too busy, I just don’t have time right now”
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [physical provisions] will be added to you. — Matthew 6:33
“I’ll just live my Christian life in front of them and they will see…”
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. — 2 Tim 4:2
"Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations… — Luke 24:46-47
“I am a genuinely shy person so…”
If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me — Mark 8:34
“I’m afraid to witness…”
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it — Luke 17:33
God has called us to action. He has not called us to be spiritually fat and lazy stinking sponges. Who are you discipling? Who are you actively and verbally witnessing to about their need for Jesus Christ? Are you benefiting the Kingdom of God or are you simply taking up space? CH Spurgeon once said: “Every Christians is either a missionary or an imposter.” Which are you?
"Not called!’ did you say? ‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face – whose mercy you have professed to obey – and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world."
— William Booth, Founder of The Salvation Army (1829-1912)
Are you a stinking sponge? Our neighbors are dead in sin and self destructing “beneath God’s righteous frown.” He has commissioned us as His ambassadors. He commands us to go, preach, and make disciples of the nations.
Do you see, do you see, all the people sinking down,
Don’t you care, don’t you care, are you gonna let them drown,
How can you be so numb, not to care if they come,
You close your eyes and pretend the job’s done.
Oh Bless me Lord, bless me Lord, you know it’s all I ever hear,
No one aches, no one hurts, no one even sheds one tear,
But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds, and He cares for your needs,
And you just lay back and keep soaking it in, oh, can’t you see it’s such sin?
— Keith Green: “Asleep in the Light”