Let me clear that up right now: I am certainly NOT complacent with my spiritual weaknesses, nor did I mean to imply apathy on my part toward them. My intent was merely to acknowledge my incredible, undeniable weakness and need for my Lord. It is His strength at work in me, not my own. I am not, however, content to sit on my laurels, discussing how I ought to change and not expending an ounce of effort toward that end. That is not me. Not at all. If I gave anyone that impression, I humbly beg your pardon.
No, instead, I fully recognize that, like Peter, when I take my eyes off the Lord, I am quickly threatened with drowning. But also like Peter, I do not sit in the boat and asking God to do wonders while I sit. I ask, but I take that step of faith toward Him. Like homeschooling. Like writing to what are possibly imagined readers. The results are not up to me, but the action in that direction is.
But back to the point of today: We open here with Jesus having compassion on the people who are weary and scattered. That certainly sounds like our culture, even more certainly like the children of this generation. Never have I seen or even read of a generation from whom so much is expected of in regards to their time and so little expected in regards to outcome. As a society, we run them ragged dabbling in this and that sport, hobby, or activity and we praise mediocrity. Spiritually, we give them the idea that the Bible belongs on a pew and not in daily life because we put a higher priority on hobbies than we do on fruit in keeping with repentance. We talk of conviction, but we do nothing but talk--and our children hear. They see us and they emulate what they see: Apathy in inaction, the hamster-wheel of activity that expends energy and yet gets us nowhere, holiness as a relic that is to be admired but not adopted, spiritual shortcuts that land us on the broad path to where we do not wish to go. And yet we do go along, sighing and speaking but not turning around and fighting the crowd to get back to where we can once more see and feel the presence of our Lord. If we are not these people personally, than we should certainly have compassion on them when we do see them, not merely telling them but showing them the Way. If we are, well... Christ did not die to see us refusing to fight the current for Him. If we do not fight it, we will be swept away.
We must be warned, however, just as the twelve were: This is no easy thing. I have been tempted, sorely tempted, to throw up my hands in defeat in my parenting, in my marriage at times, in my homeschool shamefully often. I must not. These are acts of obedience, and to give it up would be to give up the blessings of obeying my Lord fully. I know, too, that it is going to get harder. But when I plead for God to send workers to the harvest, He never fails to remind me that it is my part to not only be one of them, but to train my children to be, as well. He will send, but I have a part to play in that, as well. It is not enough to merely ask; I must also be willing to step out in faith towards that goal.
I know, too, that I absolutely must urge my brothers and sisters in Christ not to be content with things as they are. Never be content with sin, with shortcomings, with the "cares of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth!" There is no point to that, no cheapness to the grace we have been offered. Make no mistake, the price was dear and it is brutally, heinously wrong to devalue it with careless nonchalance. I do not know what God is calling you to, my friends, but whatever it is you must do it. Now, not later. It will not do to wait until later. I have some urgency behind my plea, for as I wiped my kitchen counters tonight with aching fatigue eating away at my body, this one certainty struck me: If I allow myself to be lulled into complacency with sin, if I do not stand up and fight -- right now -- for my children's souls, if I say, "Well, today I am convicted and someday I will do something about it," my time is sure to run out. I cannot say that I will stand for my Lord when faced with denying Him or accepting torture or death when I do not stand for Him when all He asks me to give up is my wants or preferences. If I cannot endure the petty annoyances that arise today of living counter-culturally and fighting against the social, religious, and political currents that are ruthlessly and insidiously working to sweep me off the narrow path, I will not endure actual perseverance when it comes. None of us will.
Lord, please send workers to the harvest. Teach us to be the workers, to train them, to love them, and to help them. Convict us of apathy and complacency and make us willing to fight the good fight. I ask for myself as well as all my brothers and sisters in Christ: Make us so uncomfortable in our sins, be they sins of commission or of omission, that we cannot stand to stay in them but are spurred ever and always to a closer walk with You.