Summary: Every Day. Routine. Take it or leave it. A dime a dozen. Do we treat the rare like the regular? Do we mistake the extraordinary for the ordinary? Do we overlook the incredible for the common?
Pt. 1 - Droppin' Dimes
We have confronted and challenged our apathy towards people. Jesus made it clear that we must not only claim love for God but that that love must be demonstrated with love for people. We can't claim love for the One we can't see if we don't love the ones we can see. However, our ability to love others is rooted and established in our love for God. I am convinced that apathy towards others is at epidemic levels. However, our apathy/lack of passion for people pales in comparison to our apathy towards the God of the universe.
There are colloquialisms that speak to rarity and exceptional things. "Once in a blue moon" or "a needle in a hay stack." Statements that conjure up ideas of the seldom seen or difficult to find. However, because of the abundance of apathy, disregard and dismissal of God even by those called by His name I think there is another phrase that more accurately reflects our attitude and approach to God. "Dime a dozen." It is the idea that encountering, gaining a consistent, daily, weekly audience with the King of Kings is now nothing more than routine. Take it or leave it. So we treat the rare like the regular! We mistake the extraordinary for the ordinary! We overlook the incredible and approach it as if it is the common! And as I have taught in the past how we perceive determines how we receive! So the challenge of this day is to get us to examine our attitude towards the holy.
I believe that in order for us to destroy apathy towards God we must develop a new sense of awe or reverence. When you are awe struck by something or when you have reverence for something you are not apathetic towards it. I think we have lost that in our approach to God. Thankfully the veil of separation has been torn so that we now have unlimited and unrestricted access to boldly approach the throne. I am so glad we don't have to have a go between like a human priest to get to the Father. Yet at the same time this access has caused us to become flippant about the opportunity and privilege we have been granted. The high priest were not apathetic in their yearly approach to God because they knew that apathy could and would bring instant death. Our apathetic approach still brings our demise but the pace of destruction is much slower and less noticeable so that we often don't even recognize the slow invasion of death.
I could certainly take you into Scripture and show you apathy towards God on display. I could take you to the account of the Children of Israel demanding a king to replace The King. I could mention David's attempt to rescue the Ark of the Covenant by the means of a new cart and Uzzah's instant death sentence for touching the sacred. Time and time again no regard for the holy. Yet, I think this morning I would rather show you an example that can instruct us on our own approach.
Text: Nehemiah 8:2-6
So Ezra the priest brought out to them the scroll of Moses’ laws. He stood on a wooden stand made especially for the occasion so that everyone could see him as he read. He faced the square in front of the Water Gate and read from early morning until noon. Everyone stood up as he opened the scroll. And all who were old enough to understand paid close attention. . . Then Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people said, “Amen,” and lifted their hands toward heaven; then they bowed and worshiped the Lord with their faces toward the ground.
Talk about the antithesis of apathy. Talk about reverence! Did you catch what I just read to you? Do you realize what I just read to you is the description of nothing more than an Old Testament example of a church service? But notice the passion. Notice the attitude. Here are some highlights in case you missed them.
1. The people were so desperate for the Word that they stood from early morning till midday to listen to it being read! We freak if a preacher goes more than 20 minutes because His Word is a dime a dozen and common. Apathy.
2. The people stood when the Word was read. I am not suggesting that we become legalistic about it. However, when you have a revelation of the fact that the Word of God is the Word of God reverence should be the response. We have made His Word so common . . . Always at our finger tips, easily and readily accessible, heard in our cars and on our TVs so we hear the decrees of a King and we doodle, day dream, and drift in our thoughts. Word of life disregarded. Word of God ignored and disrespected. Apathy!