Summary: 6 common characteristics of stagnant Christians (Outline taken from Mike Mack in a small groups class at Cincinnati Christian University)
THE KEEPER OF THE SPRINGS by Peter Marshall
Once upon a time, a certain town grew up at the foot of a mountain range. High up in the hills, a strange and quiet forest dweller took it upon himself to be the Keeper of the Springs. He patrolled the hills and wherever he found a spring, he cleaned its brown pool of silt and fallen leaves, of mud and mold and took away from the spring all foreign matter, so that the water which bubbled up through the sand ran down clean and cold and pure. It leaped sparkling over rocks and dropped joyously in crystal cascades until, swollen by other streams, it became a river of life to the busy town.
Mill wheels were whirled by its rush. Gardens were refreshed by its waters. Fountains threw it like diamonds into the air. Swans sailed on its limpid surface, and children laughed as they played on its banks in the sunshine.
But the City Council was a group of hard-headed, hard-boiled businessmen. They scanned the civic budget and found in it the salary of the Keeper of the Springs. Said the Keeper of the Purse: Why should we pay this romance ranger? We never see him; he is not necessary to our town’s work life. If we build a reservoir just above the town, we can dispense with his services and save his salary. Therefore, the City Council voted to dispense with the unnecessary cost of a Keeper of the Springs, and to build a cement reservoir.
So the Keeper of the Springs no longer visited the brown pools but watched from the heights while they built the reservoir. When it was finished, it soon filled up with water, to be sure, but the water did not seem to be the same. It did not seem to be as clean, and a green scum soon befouled its stagnant surface.
There were constant troubles with the delicate machinery of the mills, for it was often clogged with slime, and the swans found another home above the town. At last, an epidemic raged, and the clammy, yellow fingers of sickness reached into every home in every street and lane.
The City Council met again. Sorrowfully, it faced the city’s plight, and frankly it acknowledged the mistake of the dismissal of the Keeper of the Springs. They sought him out of his hermit hut high in the hills, and begged him to return to his former joyous labor. Gladly he agreed, and began again to make his rounds.
It was not long until pure water came lilting down under tunnels of ferns and mosses and to sparkle in the cleansed reservoir. Mill wheels turned again as of old. Stenches disappeared. Sickness waned and convalescent children playing in the sun laughed again because the swans had come back.
So...have you been neglecting your spiritual spring? Must start with solitude, then go to community, then go to ministry. Often get this backwards!
Characteristics of a Stagnant Pond:
It has nothing flowing in or out.
It becomes overgrown with algae.
It becomes poison.
It is abandoned.
Characteristics of A Running Stream:
It has fresh water flowing in and out.
Its clarity and its depth are obvious.
It is life sustaining.
It doesn’t stink.
It attracts others who are thirsty and hungry.
Must start with being filled up to overflowing!
Drinking at the springs of living water, Happy now am I, My soul they satisfy; drinking at the springs of living water, O wonderful and bountiful supply
Unfortunately many Christians are dry or stagnant, not drinking from the spring of living water
Thesis: 6 common characteristics of stagnant Christians
1. They prefer information over obedience
I know in our day there is biblical ignorance. Many need to study the Word. However, directing my comments to those who know a great deal of the Bible. “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” 1 Corinthians 8:1, NIV.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22, NIV.
“When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’”” Matthew 2:4-6, NIV. Seems like they would want to go to Bethlehem and find out but no!
Know a man who was a new Christian and he grew frustrated with the sermons. Preacher gave much application but saw no one doing anything. Why have sermon if no intention of obeying?