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

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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

Pew Potato

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

Or whatever

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

9. Etc

10. Etc

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



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.


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.

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