"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' " 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' " Luke 16:27-31
One of the things that has always plagued the Church is complacency. The Church consists of Christ-followers and Christ-followers are to be about the mission of winning converts and teaching them to follow Christ. There should be a sense of urgency about accomplishing this mission since it is the central reason for the church to exist.
But, it is easy to lose the urgency and fall into complacency. Jesus was speaking about that in this portion of Scripture and told a story about a guy who had done just that. Over the next few posts I want to deal with a few things that cause us to lose our urgency and lead to complacency.
Success can lead to complacency.
In the Jewish mind-set, success was linked to spiritual blessing. That is a mistaken notion but it has also found its way into some Christian thinking as well and it can lead to complacency because we can deceive ourselves into believing that because we are doing well materially we are also doing well spiritually. That may not be true. In the case of this guy it wasn't.
So, living under the impression that he was spiritually blessed had dulled his sense of urgency for reaching others or helping those who could have benefited from his generosity. That was illustrated by Lazarus, the beggar who laid outside his house in desperate need but was ignored and neglected by the rich fellow.
Having wealth and privilege should have increased his urgency to help and reach others but it caused him to be casual about it because he mistook his wealth for God's blessing. The truth is that when God does bless us materially He does it so we can bless others. People who do give to others do so because they have an urgency over the spiritual and material needs of that person. And because they give to those people, their urgency toward them grows.
I know human nature and I know that when I am having success it is easier to become content and complacent. You no doubt have struggled with that. It may be natural but it is not acceptable for believers who are called to do what Christ did and care for others. It may be human nature but it is not what called has called us to do. Our calling is to be Christ-followers who serve as the hands and feet of Jesus doing what He would do were He here.
Have you allowed yourself to become complacent? Has your comfort level taken the edge off of your urgency to reach others?
That question deserves an honest and urgent response.