7/26/16 Jesse about 25
How can some people just seem to have no spiritual interest? In answer to my question on the sidewalk about his beliefs, a man named Jesse just shrugged his shoulders and said he hadn’t really thought about it. Some people use this as a way to avoid thinking or talking about eternity, but I really had the impression that Jesse just floats through life without a thought about his relationship with God or his purpose in life or where it all leads. His apathy didn’t seem to come from a dislike for the things of God or the hatred that leads some people to not care at all. People who are cold or hot spiritually are the most interesting to talk to, and God really seems to be actively working in their lives.
Jesse was neither hot nor cold, but I would also hesitate to call him “lukewarm”. Maybe the best word to describe him might be “distracted”. Distracted by the things of this world, both the problems and the amusements. In a world increasingly filled with religious extremism, this might not seem to be a problem. “Give them time”, some would say, “they will come to church when they are ready. God will get their attention through some sort of life crisis or felt need. Then they will be ready to listen.” But there is a reason Jesus said we are to “Go” into all the world. Most of the world will not come to us on their own. If we wait for that to happen we will be waiting a long time. We will waste much of our life waiting. Jesse was positive and interested in what I had to say, even if he didn’t have much reaction to it or any questions. People like himself who haven’t given religion much thought generally haven’t thought about its implications or formulated questions of their own. They are not spiritually awake, and talking to them can be like trying to talk to someone who is half-asleep and just trying to get their bearings.
We shouldn’t be surprised at this. Romans 8 says “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” We shouldn’t expect the living among the dead, but at the same time this shouldn’t stop us, for we too were once dead in our sins until God brought us to life through Jesus. The words of life we plant in people may take time to germinate, but once they do that small seed of faith will grow into a tree that birds can take shelter in.
Jesse listened to the Gospel, received it with mental assent, and genuinely thanked me for taking the time to get his attention and explain it to him. Let’s pray for him, that his mental assent will turn into repentance and faith in Jesus, and that he will be raised from the dead to the fullness of life in Christ!