Recently I said the same line in three consecutive sermons. I explained what God desires from us as his followers. Each time I used different passages in the Bible to demonstrate the need to serve others in the name of Jesus. Then I made a statement to summarize the material I had covered with an application for today. The line I said was, “Some people come every week, sit in a chair for an hour, then go home and do nothing.”
What is remarkable about this experience is that it motivated no one to do anything.
Looking out over the people, this statement described the actions of at least one-third of them. My prayer had been that one or two of them might desire to get involved. Possibly one or two would sign up for our membership class where we explain what the Church is doing and why. I had hoped that maybe the people who sit and nod in agreement would do what God wants them to do.
And the result – Nothing. Nothing happened
Each Monday morning, I ask, “How many times will it take, Lord?”
How many sermons does someone need to hear on a topic before they act? How many times must someone read a passage from the Bible before they obey it? How many programs, sign-up sheets, and volunteer requests will it take? How long before someone really listens and allows their actions to be guided by God’s desires?
I still don’t have a clear and definite answer. I keep telling myself, “At least one more time.” Then I write another blog, compose another sermon, and teach another lesson. During this process, I hope and pray, “God, maybe this week.”
A Christian can only deliver the message. The person who receives it is the only one who can answer the question, “How many times will it take?”
My hope is that it will not take too much longer, and maybe it will start today.