Lazy People

Lazy PeopleIn this age of psycho-babble, feel-good commentary, one can find an endless number of reasons the world is slipping into spiritual darkness. Preachers try to tackle the moral issues of our day by giving people a detailed description of every angle of the sin issue.

The lack of knowledge cannot be the main problem. We are very well educated about the problems of our generation, yet the world continues to grow darker with each passing day.

The reason sin abounds is simple: People are lazy. We are slothful, idle, immobile, inactive and whatever other terms describe just plain laziness.

When it comes to identifying the lazy people, the finger of blame points mostly to Christians. The unsaved can’t be held accountable for something they never pledged to uphold. An atheist is obviously not going to be instructing others to adhere to God’s commandments.

Believers are the ones responsible for carrying the banner of the Great Commission. The poor spiritual condition of the world today is a testimony to the fact that the average Christian does not have a burning desire to help advance the gospel message.

Most Christians hold to the idea that they are not directly involved in the salvation plan. They didn’t lead the world into rebellion, so why should they be required to guide people to the truth? Even believers who understand responsibility seem to think that the assignment of being an ambassador for Christ is a general rule that does not necessarily apply to them.

What is Laziness?
The French author Jules Renard once wrote, “Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.” Comic strip Blondie once had Dagwood Bumstead offer this bit of humorous wisdom about laziness, “You can’t teach people to be lazy – either they have it, or they don’t.”

Laziness, as it relates to believers, is the gross failure to love God with all one’s heart, all one’s mind, and all one’s soul. It is the tendency to do nothing in the face of opportunity.

Laziness is also the failure of a person to properly manage the time and resources God has provided. Because we all have different skills and abilities, the quantity and quality of our work can never be a true indicator of dedication.

One person may be highly skilled at a task, yet lack the motivation to be productive. Someone else may have limited skills, yet choose to overcome shortcomings by putting forth more effort.

Because no action is required in the sin of laziness, it is one of the easiest of the seven deadly sins to commit. Unlike with pride, envy, anger, greed, gluttony and lust, sloth is performed through a passive response.

Lazy Critics
Over the years I have received every type of negative email the human mind can conceive. I firmly believe the main message presented by Rapture Ready is the truth, and someday the majority of my detractors will have to admit their errors.

Because every idea we present on the site is based in some way on biblical text, it baffles me that people are bold enough to make claims that are not backed by anything but their own twisted logic.

It is almost comical to read some of these curse-riddled messages from people who feel they have the authority to lecture me in spiritual matters. If they had done their research, they might have had a chance to stump me on some point.

The sad part is that they are likely wrong in their views because they are too intellectually lazy to search for the truth. I wonder how many lost people would find the truth if they just attempted to verify their beliefs.

Do You Really Really Want To Help Out?
Many times a year I get emails from people who want to help out with the site. Whenever I receive one of these emails, I always try to respond to their requests.

After providing a list of things they can do, I rarely hear from them again. I quickly figured out that 90 percent of the time, volunteers disappear after making a pledge of support.

I finally realized what happens in most cases. Some folks tell me they feel convicted to become better ambassadors for Christ, and I can tell from their sincerity that they are making that decision from the heart.

Unfortunately, for the most part the offers of help don’t turn out to be genuine. The volunteers understand the need for doing good works. But because they have no commitment to take action, the result is just a mechanism for appeasing their conscience.

It is far easier to stand by as an observer and do nothing than it is to get involved in the difficult task of soul-winning. Some people have promised me their support, then failed to follow through. Weeks later these same people have come back and asked for my forgiveness. Then they have failed to follow up on their second pledge.

Because it is so easy to make empty promises, I question all volunteers about their commitment level. Most of them don’t get past, “Do you really really want to help out?”

Managing Your Time and Abilities
For me, writing is a very difficult process. I often have a terrible time trying to translate my thoughts into an organized article, and my spelling is equally as bad.

My determination is what allows me to overcome these handicaps. I’ll arrange and rearrange paragraphs dozens of times before they become presentable. As far as spelling and grammar goes, there’s always spell check.

I may kick around ideas for an article for several months. As long as I plan to eventually finish the project, time really is not a factor. Once an article is written, all the delays instantly become null and void.

Many people view time as an obstacle that bars them from doing good works. They don’t think they have the time, or are too busy on less important matters, so they refrain from becoming involved in spiritual materials.

Imagine that someone needs to go from Los Angeles to New York City, and the only means of transportation is a car that can only move 5 miles per hour. Because there are 2,462 miles between the two cities, the trip would take 20 days of nonstop travel.

The idea of having to take a month to travel from one end of the country to the other would be an insurmountable obstacle for most people. But before the days of cars and trains, this was the speed at which settlers moved from the East to the West.

Because we have a lifetime to accomplish what God might expect of us, the rate at which we go about these tasks is not a central issue. The most vital component for achieving a fruitful life is our willingness to contribute. The smallest effort over the longest period of time is worth 100 percent more than a continuous state of disengagement.

The act of being busy does not guard us from also being slothful. To be productive, we need to assign priorities to our daily activities.

Many lazy people become lazy by making poor choices regarding their priorities. I have a half-brother who has always neglected to keep himself employed. As long as I’ve known him, he has been on welfare or living off one of his many girlfriends. However, when it comes to working on old cars, he has been very engaged in that endeavor. It’s obvious that he has a priority problem.

I’m lazy about balancing my checkbook. Because of my spend-thrift habits, I have the option of using my bank statement to keep track of my money. If I were a shopaholic, it would then be a necessary priority for me to keep close tabs on my budget.

I find many misplaced priorities in the field of Bible prophecy. I know from experience many prophetic authors are only interested in prophecy because it puts money in their pocket. Any project that doesn’t have a commercial value is of no interest to them. If you want to find out a preacher’s true priorities, go to his official website and check to see how many free resource materials he offers.

Rapture Ready was started with the realization that there is nothing of greater importance for me to be doing with my time. Maintaining RR as my top priority is what has allowed me to stay focused all these years.

Laziness: That Means You, Buster
The motivation for writing this article came from my many years of experience with managing a web-based ministry. Before I began this site, I had the general impression that most Christians would be engaged in their faith.

It didn’t take me long to realize that nearly all Christian endeavors are supported by a very small number of believers. Out of any group, you might find one percent active in the moral, political, and social issues of our day.

Because God has already forewarned that most Christians will fail to be active in championing the gospel message, every believer needs to be mindful of his or her own level of productivity.

No one is going to come knocking on your door, point a finger, and say, “You’ve been too lazy about your Christian faith.” This is a determination we will have to make ourselves.

Scripture strongly warns that the slothful believer will suffer embarrassment and loss of rewards in the Kingdom of God. The failure to act on our responsibilities can lead to an eternity of regret. All the glory of heaven cannot hide the fact that one of our friends or family members may have died lost because of our lack of concern for their salvation.

Engagement is the only cure for laziness. No herbal remedy or motivation speech can cure laziness. A person will remain motionless until he or she finds the willpower to get up and go. It is simply fruitless to go beyond the call for action.

Your Involvement
One day, I was searching the internet and ran across the following note on a site about ballet. “When I started BalletWeb in 1996, there were very few good ballet sites on the Web. Now there are hundreds (and, of course, some pretty dreadful ones, too!) Since the need now seems to be well filled, and I no longer have the time or stamina to keep the site up to date, the most sensible thing seems to be to close it and clear the way for others,” said Jim, the site’s webmaster.

I chose to use the quote here not because I thought this guy seemed lazy. Jim’s reasons for discontinuing his updates seem reasonable. What I found interesting was how his decision brings up the contrast between ballet sites and Christian websites.

Just as in the subject of ballet, there are hundreds of well maintained sites on prophecy. However, their abundance doesn’t indicate we have reached any type of saturation point. The fact that our world is slipping deeper into wickedness is testimony to the need for more Bible-based sites.

The business of saving souls is far more important than commentary about people dancing around in tutus. The believer’s need to propagate the gospel message should be a life-long commitment.

Since beginning Rapture Ready, I have relied upon the contributions of fellow believers to build up the content of this site. I have some articles that were written back in the early days of the internet. Over the years, I’ve completely lost contact with many of these people.

When each person has submitted an article, he has probably thought nothing of the impact it would have over these years. One person wrote a piece that has been on RR for nearly 18 years, and it now has been read by nearly a million people.

I often think about how pleased these folks will be on judgment day when they are presented with the fruits of their labor. The magnitude of their reward will be like someone who bought stock in companies like Microsoft or Dell Computer at their initial public offering and held the shares up until now. Because people keep track of their financial holdings, the windfall for people who invest in the site will be a sudden and shocking revelation.

The benefits of being a productive Christian do not need to be accidental. Everything we do for the sake of the gospel should be viewed as a value contribution. It’s regrettable that most people neglect something that will someday garner God’s praise.

There are many ways to defeat the spirit of laziness. You can start at home by witnessing to friends and family. Helping out in your local church is another option.

Opportunities abound here at Rapture Ready. I don’t think the day will ever come when I say have to refrain from extending offers to help with the task of building up the site. If you have an idea or desire to become involved in this ministry, you can contact Terry or myself about helping out on some project.

A Crisis of Faith

A Crisis of Faith 

In a world with few moral champions, Mother Teresa stands as one of the most well regarded religious leader in history. She spent most of her adult life caring for children in the slums of India. It turns out, the missionary who brought light to those in deepest darkness was herself in darkness.

The world recently learned of Mother Teresa’s struggle with doubt when her personal letters were made public in a book. She asked that all her writings and correspondence be destroyed, but the guardians of her earthly estate decided her notes should be preserved for the sake of posterity.

In one of her letters, she wrote an undated address to Jesus, “Where is my Faith — even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness & darkness — My God — how painful is this unknown pain — I have no Faith — I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart — & make me suffer untold agony.”

She wrote the Rev. Michael van der Peet in September 1979, saying, “Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.”

Mother Teresa has been beatified but not yet canonized. One reporter mockingly quipped that she should be made the patron saint of doubters.

There is nothing special about Mother Teresa having a struggle with faith. Many great church leaders have had to deal with moments when they questioned their own faith.

What Is a Crisis of Faith?
“Crisis of faith” is a term commonly applied to periods of intense doubt and internal conflict about one’s preconceived beliefs or life decisions. This doubt can be triggered by a single event, or it can build up as a general sense of dissatisfaction.

Some people think that any type of uncertainty is a sign of a crisis of faith. I would say the opposite is generally true. Someone who boldly declares that he or she has never had doubts is likely a person who was never a true believer.

True faith is about denying one’s self and struggling to reject the sin nature. It is also about feeling like a stranger in a strange land. A person who has perfect peace with the world has never actually separated from it.

A crisis of faith takes place when you reach a dead end, then realize you simply have no faith in your faith.

Game Face
My 20 years of experience in running Rapture Ready has brought me into contact with thousands of Christians. I have learned that you can never be totally sure if someone is a genuine believer.

People know how to act like a Christian. They put on a game face, saying what a Christian should say, yet they lack what it means to be whole in the faith.

Mother Teresa admitted that there was a feigned effort in the to imagine she presented to the world. “The smile,” she wrote, “is a mask or a cloak that covers everything. I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God, a tender personal love. If you were there you would have said, ‘What hypocrisy.’”

I’ve seen some examples that go far beyond Mother Teresa’s lack of confidence. Some people remove their mask and reject Christianity altogether.

Not too long ago, I talked with someone who operates a site similar to Rapture Ready. During the phone conversation, I was surprised to hear this person openly admit not really being a believer in Christ. I was equally surprised by the endless stream of profanity coming from this person’s mouth.

I have long admired this individual’s articles. The website this person maintains offers Christians some sound scriptural advice, but there is this glaring contradiction.

The only sense I could make of the conflict was that this person’s interest had more to do with the satisfaction of running an organization than the desire to serve the Lord. As a result, someone is telling people how to live a Christian life, but that person is following a separate path.

On the Rapture Ready message board, we occasionally have people lose their mask. I remember one woman who wanted to open a thread on wine tasting. When we decided it wasn’t a good idea, she had an absolute fit.

Some of her messages were so profane, I wondered if she had switched to the hard stuff and was doing more than just tasting it. Beforehand she had been very sweet to me, but when we butted heads, I could tell she was straining to think of the most vile, hateful things she could throw in the direction of myself and the other moderators.

I understand that conflict and trials do cause people to say things they might later regret. They should never bring us to the point where we renounce our faith.

A Crisis Doesn’t Require a Crisis of Faith
Becoming a Christian does not mean everything will suddenly become a bed of roses. No matter how well isolated someone might be from the world, there are going to be times of difficulty.

For some people, a trial is the point when they doubt or abandon their faith. People assume that God has violated some unwritten contract with them, so they go their own way.

Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, is a very dramatic example of this type of outcome. At one point, Ted intended to be a missionary. He said that he has been “born again” seven times. Ted’s sister, Mary Jane, came down with lupus and suffered terribly before dying. Ted had prayed for an hour each day–“for naught”. Ever since, Ted has been mad at God and considers himself an “atheist” or an “agnostic” today.

The loss of a loved one is a very traumatic event that can cause anyone to question how a caring deity can impose such pain and suffering on loved ones.  It’s often difficult to differentiate “free will” from the “will of God,” and it’s even harder to realize that certain things are simply beyond our control.

There is no broken promise on God’s part. When Adam and Eve fell, the Lord spelled out the consequences of their error right on the spot, and He has been true to His word. Because we live under a curse, hardship should not be a factor in our faith.

Consider the poor folks who lived during the Middle Ages. Their entire lives were spent going from one miserable experience to another. The vast majority of the population existed in abject poverty conditions, and there was a constant threat of war and disease. Someone dying at age 50 would be considered as having lived to a ripe old age.

Despite these miserable conditions, people in the Middle Ages were very solid in their faith. They labored six days a week from sun up to sun down, and packed churches on Sunday.

A cynic might say they were clinging to a false hope, but I don’t think that is the root cause. I think the reason adversity causes people to be more devoted in their faith is because it forces people to realize that the Kingdom of God is more valuable than this world. Today, with all the carnal enticements around us, we put more value in this life. Adversity causes people to search their souls, and this is what produces faith.

We should never forget that this world is shadow of the glory that waits in the life to come. Any problem we have along the journey to our true home should not be viewed as something that can damage our faith.

A Crisis of Faith Can Be a Good Thing
There are billions of people on this planet whom I wish would have a crisis of faith. The reason is because the faith they currently have is based on falsehood.

One sad situation is when someone is in bondage to a false religion, then realizes something is not right yet continues to be part of this group because he or she lacks the willpower to break free.

I would rather have someone reject a faith they have no trust in than go through life living a hopeless lie. It is foolish for someone to remain linked to a school of thought just because of some cultural or emotional attachment to it.

A lie doesn’t get better with age. It normally degrades as the light of the truth reveals its true nature.

The followers of Jim Jones could have used a crisis of faith. There was plenty of evidence that he was not the divine savior he claimed to be. People blindly put their trust in him–all the way to the point that they lost their lives.

I think the reason Mother Teresa felt so empty was her reliance on a religious experience that was based on works. It’s sad that her lack of fulfillment didn’t cause her to seek the true meaning of faith.

The Holy Ghost Connection
Most people believe faith is a matter of someone just being presented with the gospel message and deciding to become a believer. The Bible says the Holy Spirit is involved in the process. Without Him, no one would choose to become a believer in Christ.

James said that anyone who lacks understanding should ask God for wisdom. People who are in a state of confusion are often trying solve their doubts through their own ability.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” James 1:5.

I’ve been serving the Lord for over 25 years and I can tell how God has guided me. I never had any special revelations of truth, but I’ve never had any crisis with my faith.

I have noticed the sustaining power in God when I reflect back on how many of my Christian friends from my youth have lost their vigor, while I have found strength to keep pressing forward each day.

If you place your trust in God, I am certain that He will also guide you through any obstacle that may come your way.

“By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. By your strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might. You silence the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples. Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs; you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy” (Psalm 65:5-8).