Are We Self Indulged?

Let me relate to you a frustrating experience from earlier today. My oldest heathen starts kindergarten next week so I thought I would treat him with McDonald’s today for lunch. I’m not a fan but the kids love the poison. About half way through lunch I looked up and saw an old lady with a walker walking through the restaurant. As she attempted to exit she began to struggle with the door. I watched in anger as I viewed the “men,” that did in fact see her, continue to play on their phones and shove food in their mouth. Furious at this point, I left my children unattended (watched them through the window) while I helped her to her car. I was left sitting there wondering if this is really who we have become. Are we really this self indulged? Before someone blames this on an age demographic, ethnicity, political or economic group, there were all kinds of people sitting at tables. As frustrating as this sounds, two things did come out of this that is profitable.

First, as I came back inside and sat down my oldest son began to questions me. He asked, “Daddy, why did you do that?” Honestly, there are multiple reasons why. My raising. My conscience. My frustration from viewing others. My debt to the grace of God. There really is multiple answers. What then was my answer to him? Simple, because we are men and God’s word says “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1) I probably said it a little louder than I should have. This may sound strange, but I was thankful for the occasion. It reminded me of when the nation of Israel passed over Jordan. Joshua 4:6-7 reads, “That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.” As frustrated as I was, this occasion gave me opportunity to show and explain to him a memorial of grace. Sinners that we are, they see everything. You see, our life is living theology for our children.

Lastly, as my children finished eating I sat there meditating on what had just transpired. My frustration turned to slight discouragement as I realized that this instance was really just an example of who we are as a society, and even as a Christian community. How so? Let me ask you a few questions. Do you know how many widows are members at your local assembly? Do you know how many shut ins there are? When was the last time you made a hospital or nursing home visit? OK, let’s build on this principle. Do we visit only our friends? Do we visit only the most noble in the congregation? Do we take the time to visit those who may be less influential, the less desirable? Or maybe those to whom we have nothing in common? How about those whose personality annoys us and those we would normally avoid on Sunday? Or do we just stick close to our family, friends, and personal clique? The sting of conviction burns me deep. I really don’t want to answer my own questions. It is no surprise that seclusion and neglect was the first controversy among the early church (Acts 6:1). How then is this point profitable? It made me examine myself.

My friends, as much as the opening story may shock us, it reveals the ignored, ugly side of our culture. We spend more time looking at our phones, planning vacations, even finding every possible way to keep ourselves entertained and self indulge that we have almost completely forgotten how to function as the body of Christ. Let’s examine ourselves. As we spend the summer indulging in all sorts of activities, let us not forget our delightful duty of Christian service. Let’s not forget the “least of these.” Always remember that one sign that Jesus was the Christ was that he preached to the poor.

May it never be said of us that we dwell in our cieled houses, and let God’s house lie waste.

Originally published August 2016

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