“I love to cut the grass. I know, I’m weird, but I really do. It’s because I know there is an end in sight and so many things in my life seem endless.” I heard a youth pastor share these words and as a minister it is tough to see the finish line. In fact, many of us become apathetic for this very reason.
Given just three years, Jesus was a man with a mission and fully committed to accomplishing it. What was the mission? What was His deadline and did He meet it?
Jesus came to:
Heal the sick
Heal broken hearts
Give sight to the blind
Establish His church
Provide salvation for His people
This list could go on and on.
Jesus is Creator and King, Master and Savior, yet, there are still sick people today. There are still broken hearts. The blind still go without sight. Hundreds of Churches permanently close their doors everyday. In fact, many people today are without Salvation and the without God’s Word. And perhaps most disappointing of all, many of those who are saved are not making disciples. So, was Jesus a failure?
Apathy comes when we believe that our efforts are going to be fruitless or pointless. Apathy comes when we weigh out the work involved against the end result and then conclude that it’s just not worth the effort.
Jesus mission was accomplished. John 17 tells us that Jesus spoke to the Father in prayer expressing that He had made the Father known to His disciples and that He had given them His Word. Jesus had kept them and commissioned them. This does not sound like the end of a mission, but the beginning!
A woman came to Jesus and anointed His head with very expensive ointment. The disciples seeing this rebuked the woman charging that the money earned from the sale of the ointment could have been given to the poor. Jesus in turn rebuked the disciples:
“You always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.” Matt 26:11
Jesus, what are you saying?! If we will always have the poor, why bother trying?!
For this woman, Jesus was central, not charity. Her goal was not to solve the money problems of the masses or provide healing to the lame of the land. She was focused on Jesus, and giving Him the most priceless thing she had, even beyond the ointment, herself.
When we focus on Him, and not the end result, we are unable to become apathetic. He will never disappoint us. We will become men and women on a mission to know Him better, by first being a disciple and then making disciples who know and love Him deeply. Just as Christ did all the things listed above, so will a disciple. However, when we focus on Him rather than the charity then it’s no longer overwhelming or burdensome.
So, the 2 easiest ways to avoid apathy:
– Stop Analyzing (the end result)
– Stop Anticipating (the end result)
For example: Read the bible in a year. Already, you are setting a goal and analyzing the work against the result. Consider it this way: Read the Bible cover to cover. Now you may not be analyzing the end result as much, but you will begin to anticipate it. This too can lead to apathy because it becomes a seemingly unattainable task. But I want to challenge you to consider it this way: Read the Bible cover back to cover each year. This is accepting a pattern of life that is to read His word. The end result is reading through the entire Word of God repeatedly until you are home with Him. No one knows when death will come so you are unable to anticipate the end and analyzing the effort against the result is impossible because you will be dead before you finish.
This will remove apathy from your path. Just as the woman embraced a Savior instead of a charity, it is freeing to embrace a lifestyle rather than a workload!