Summary: A couch-potato is defined as “a person disinclined to activity or exertion” A pew potato is a Christian who comes to church but is disinclined to Christian activity
Every year the folks at Merriam-Webster pour over thousands of publications of all sorts in search of new words or new definitions of old words.
And every year they find and include many such words in the latest editions of their dictionaries.
In 1982 a new word was added to the English Dictionary. It was added because of the amount of usage it received in the press and other places in the 2 or 3 years preceding that year.
That word? Couch potato!
Merriam-Webster defines a couch-potato as “a person disinclined to activity or exertion, esp. one who spends a great deal of time watching television.”
I’ll wager that as soon as I said that many of you pictured someone you know whom you consider a couch potato
That image in your mind probably includes several common points
The person you’re picturing probably has a remote in his/her hand
They are probably sweating
It’s either late at night or in the middle of a very hot humid day
I’d guess they have something to drink in one hand and a bag of chips in the other
And no doubt they have a blank stare on their face
We live in a world that is beset with many problems that have something of alike to the couch potatoes around us
Heart disease is at an all time high
Cholesterol is up
Productivity is down
In this information age, we don’t read as much as we used to
As a result we don’t write or speak as well as we used to
Grades in school are lower
Crime is higher
I’m not here to advocate the destruction of your TV set or ever doing away with chips and salsa while watching QVC at 2am
Rather, tonight I want to take note of a similar problem within the church at large
The problem can be summed up in a new word
A pew potato is a Christian who makes his way into the sanctuary at every available opportunity to sit and watch what’s going on while snacking on his or her religion
Probably all of us have played the part of a pew potato at some point in our lives
And like the couch potato we are disinclined to Christian activity or exertion
For many Christianity is a spectator sport
They come and watch what’s going on and never involve themselves in the working of the kingdom
Let’s face it...service is not usually fun
It’s hard to put ourselves at bay and serve others
Especially when we’re talking about working in the nursery
Or teaching a Sunday school class
Or opening doors
Or picking up dropped bulletins after service
Or filling communion cups
And like the couch potato suffering from ill health, the body of Christ suffers and becomes ill when we allow ourselves to become pew potatoes
And they do this for a number of reasons
1. They don’t feel they have anything to offer
2. The work of the ministry is to be done by professional full time clergy/pastors
3. All the work is currently being done and when a slot opens up, they figure they’ll jump right in
4. The positions of service that are available do not fit my gifts
5. I’m too old
6. I’m too young
7. To offer my services would be prideful
8. The available jobs are not very appealing
I’d be a liar if I said some of those things had never crossed my mind
But the fact is none of those are very good reasons for not getting out of the pew and into a place of ministry
There are some excellent reasons why we should fight the pew potato syndrome and get into a place of service
WHY SHOULD WE SERVE OTHERS?
1. BECAUSE WE WERE CREATED FOR SERVICE
Ephesians 2:10 “It is God Himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus. Long ago He planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.” (LB)
Circle “long ago”.
The Bible says that even before you were born, God planned a life of service for you.
The reason why so many people are miserable today,
feel empty is because they’ve missed the point of life.
The Bible says that long ago God planned that you and I should serve others
As I serve others,
my own needs are met and
as I give my life away,
I find it.
You were created for service.
2. IT PROVES THAT I BELONG TO CHRIST
Romans 7:4 “You are part of the body of Christ and now you belong to Him in order that we might be useful in the service of God.” (GN)
God says that the way that you know that you’re a part of the body of Christ is that you serve others.