PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “WATCH OUT FOR SATAN’S INNOCULATION!”
I remember playing football my freshman year of High School at Decatur MacArthur High School. Our Coach Jerry Curtis told us something important. It had to do with playing in such a way to “give your all”. Now, as a good football coach prepares his high school players for the season, he’s going to bring up the dangers of what he will call playing tentatively. I know no one’s anxious to get hurt, and so there’s a natural tendency to hold back a little in a contact sport; to hold back when you hit, when you block, when you tackle. But the coach is going to tell you that “the best way to get hurt is to play tentatively, half-heartedly. Either give it all you’ve got or don’t play“
The verse I chose for the Pastor’s Perspective today is from Ecclesiastes 9:10; a verse that could be one of those life-principle verses like maybe a good wall plaque. It’s almost a motto that you could repeat to yourself at work, and in sports, or while you’re doing your homework, while you’re doing dirty work, while you’re listening to someone, or you’re trying to finish a job. It’s one of those repeat over and over statements. Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”
Well, that’s consistent with four words that appear over and over in the Bible, “with all your heart.” Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, or in this case with all your might. One of my personal heroes is Jim Elliott, who was a missionary that in the 1950s was one of five American missionaries martyred as they went to a tribe that had never even heard the name of God. And out of that martyrdom came a flow of missionaries and people in Christian service. Well, one of Jim Elliott’s mottos went like this (you ready?), “Wherever you are, be all there.” Somebody may have said to you, “You’re not all there.” Perhaps that’s true! Have you checked? Well, yes, wherever you are, be all there. If you’ve got something to do anyway, why not do it with all you’ve got? If you’ve got to be there, why not be there with all your heart?
There’s a little wisdom I saw on a plaque in a kitchen years ago. It said, “Lord, help me do with a smile the things I have to do anyway.” Got to do them anyway, might as well really do them. A Christian should be known as a “hundred percenter” in everything he or she does. You listen with all your might. When it’s time to work, you work with all your might. When you pray, you pray with all your might. When you play, you play with all your might. When you goof off, you goof off with all your might. When you help somebody, you help with all your might. When you study, oh yeah, you know by now, yeah, you do it with all your might.
I think that is a major problem with our Christianity these days! Even in Tri Valley Baptist Church! Yes, even in our Church. We need to ask ourselves the question-could it be that we are not having the impact that God wants us to have on our community because we are not “hundred percenters”? Listen to what Chad Walsh had to say about that in his very convicting book about Christianity in the 21st century. In his book, Early Christians of the Twenty-first Century, Chad Walsh wrote:
Millions of Christians live in a sentimental haze of vague piety, with soft organ music trembling in the lovely light from the stained glass windows. Their religion is a thing of pleasant emotional quivers divorced from the intellect, divorced from the will, and demanding little except lip service to a few harmless platitudes. I suspect that Satan has called off the attempt to convert people to agnosticism. If a man travels far enough away from Christianity, he is always in danger of seeing it in perspective and deciding that it is true. It is much safer from Satan’s point of view to vaccinate a man with a case of mild Christianity so as to protect him from the real thing.
Inoculation is the introducing of a micro-organism into the human bodies’ blood stream to prevent the contracting of a disease. This is commonly known as a vaccine! In other words, they take the dead virus (such as small pox) and inject it into your body in the form of a serum. Since the virus is dead, it doesn’t hurt you. The dead virus cells cause your body’s healthy cells to build up immunity to that particular virus. Now you are safe from the virus. We should be thankful to the Lord for such medical advancements. Fifty years ago, many children died because of small pox, or polio. Today those diseases are rare in this country, if not non-existent!
Is that what the problem is? Satan has vaccinated us with a “mild strain” of Christianity to keep us from showing the “real thing” to the world? We must face that question honestly, and repent if we are going to make any impact in these “last days”. I remember hearing Howard Hendricks, at the Second Baptist Church of Houston, Texas tell a class full of us students, “Gentleman, if we want them (our Churches and the lost in the world) to bleed, we are going to have to hemorrhage! If we want them to have the real disease, we are going to have to infect them with more than a dead virus, that will only inoculate them from the real thing!” A young man came up to Charles Spurgeon and asked him how he could make his Church grow like Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Chapel had. Spurgeon said, “It is quite simple young man. Next Sunday, when you go into your pulpit, pour kerosene over your head, light a match, and people will come to watch you burn!” That is what Spurgeon did! Not literally of course! But he was a “hundred percenter”! He gave his all. He hemorrhaged! He had the “real disease” of which there is no cure! Some people just seem like they “can’t live for the Lord” and others see like they “can’t help but live for the Lord”, The Lord is looking for the latter! Surrender yourself today to “be there” but “be all there”! If you’re going to be “in the game” don’t play tentatively-“play all out, or don’t play!” Amen? God is counting on us! We dare not let him down!