com·pla·cen·cy: self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.
Yes, complacency is a feeling of self-satisfaction. Content with the status quo, organizations and individuals (and churches) that are complacent do not look for new opportunities or hazards on the horizon, instead they are almost always internally focused. They rarely initiate or lead, working at a constant speed even when circumstances call for fast action. We have all seen it, yet we underestimate its prevalence and its power.
Do you feel like you may have become complacent? What about the church? Are we primarily internally focused? Doing for ourselves at the expense of the “least of these?” I’m feeling this a lot recently and I’m saddened by it both personally and on behalf of the church. So what do we do about it?
May I suggest that we take seriously what the Lord has already said to us in His Word. (See some examples below and then take a few minutes to study this for yourself.) To look to the needs of others before taking care of ourselves is the key. Isn’t that what Jesus did. He was the one praying, healing, washing feet and loving people unconditionally. It seems that a lot of what I do day to day is very conditional… How will this benefit me personally? How will this make me look in the eyes of others? Will they think that I’m a wonderful guy and even a spiritual giant? “Look at how he loves others, how he gives to so many good causes, how he speaks so highly of his wife, what a beautiful voice, what an awesome blog, what a funny guy…” And here’s the one my bride really loves… “He must be so fun to live with!” Hey, there are moments!
But seriously… I’m not saying that we do everything just to gain praise, good stuff generally flows from good people, but what I am saying is that we need to be careful to deflect that praise to where it really belongs, to it’s rightful owner, Jesus! OK, there I go again, being spiritual… but I think you get my point. God loves it when we do good works to match our deep faith in Him, but he also loves us even when we fail. I just want to strive to be more like him and do more good (Godly) stuff. I know that this is not what gets me into Heaven, but I do know that when I love and serve others well, it pleases Him and I do want to make my Daddy happy.
And what about the church? Is the church self-focused as well? What are we striving to do from week to week? Are we trying to make ourselves more comfortable or make life better for the poor and the homeless? Do we only enjoy another “all you can eat” hot meal in the basement with our church friends or do we also take a hot meal to a shut-in or refugee who hasn’t had someone visit them in weeks or maybe months? Do we work to build another building for ourselves so we can “grow,” or do we also build a home for a family who has never had a place to call home? If I’m out of order here, please call me on it, I’m willing to learn and grow, but I’m also willing to speak when others are silent. Has it cost me to do so, yes, in some ways. Some don’t really want to hear what I have to say, others may just disagree and they think that I’m just being devisive, but how can we not speak up when injustice is being done or when we have taken our eyes off of the “Main Thing.”
Sorry I got a bit preachy. This is not meant to be a punch in the gut or slap to the face, it’s simply a reminder for me (that I’m also sharing with you) to remind us to be about our Father’s business and not just looking after ourselves and our own interests. Besides, He said that He’d take care of us anyway. Don’t we trust Him? We’ll have all that we need when we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness! Peace. RM
James 1:27 – Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Philippians 2:1-11 – So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, …
Proverbs 19:17 – Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.
Matthew 25:34-46 – Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? …When you did this for the least of these…