Inside of all of us is a silent killer. It lays dorment until the right moment and then it strikes without warning. It sneaks up on us and springs its trap with a verociousness that is unparalleled and yet when it attacks we rarely, if ever, even see it happening. This thing creeps into our decision making process, our thought process, our feelings and emotions, it begins to control the way we respond to others, ourselves, and even God. This thing can bring a person to their knees but at the same time it has the power to shape a nation and bring a nation to its knees. This thing is... Complacency
In today's reading the prophet Amos issues a rebuke to the nation of Israel in chapter 6 for its complacency and its pride. And it is easy to look at Israel and think, "Man, how could you guys let it get to that point?" but when we begin to take some introspective stock of where we often find ourselves (maybe personally or as a nation) we might come to the conclusion that we are living just up the street from where they are living at the moment. (so to speak).
Israel is in a position of luxury and opulence. They are eating on the finest dining, sleeping in the most ornate rooms on the the richest of furniture pieces spending their days making music and essential playing the day away and all the while they are ignoring the plight of the world around them. More importantly they are ignoring God and what it is that he has asked of them. They have become complacent in their attitude toward those in need and the God that they claim to serve.
Complacency is defined: 1 : self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies 2 : an instance of usually unaware or uninformed self-satisfaction
I believe that the danger of complacency is ever present in our culture if we choose to close our eyes to it. The problem (as the definition points to) is the fact that this can be something that we are completely unaware of. We can become so blinded by ourselves that we fail to see what is happening around us. God is doing amazing things around us and around the world, but I fear that sometimes we become absorbed with what is going on around us, failing to see what it is that God is doing and would like to do in and through us. We become, and in some cases strive for, a life of complacency.
We wouldn't call it that, but what we want more than anything else is "more" - more of this or more of that. We want to be comfortable and really don't want to concern ourselves with things that don't directly impact our lives directly. In a lot of ways, complacency is allowing ourselves to put up the blinders so that we can only see what we want to see. This is why it is a silent killer. God has asked us to look at the world through HIS eyes; eyes of compassion. Eyes that would see the needs of others and the provision of God in our lives and then marry the two and look for ways to impact the kingdom living out the the summary of the law.
(the summary of the law is basically this: Matthew 22:37-40 - Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law of the Prophets hang on these two commandments.")
Are we putting this first in our lives? Do we love God and love others before we begin to love ourselves? Have we replaced the American Dream for our faith in God just as Israel replaced National prosperity before their faith in God?
Another thing to point out is that Amos is bringing their attention to two specific nations who do not believe in God but are suffering the same fate that is making it's way towards Israel, despite the fact that Israel is a nation that claims to follow God and to be his chosen people. The reason I point this out is because God is trying to shake his people awake in telling them that they are not the first people to go down this road. And I believe that he would say the same to us. We aren't immune to complacency, and no one ever has been when they've been surrounded by abundance - even Israel. But if we are not careful we will allow this silent killer of relationships to take root in our lives and we will begin to see only ourselves when we look at the world around us.
But the great thing is that we can always shake ourselves out of complacency when we begin to look for what God is doing here in our our neighborhoods and towns as well as around the world. There are people near and far, here at home and in nations far away, that need to hear about Christ and be shown by our actions and our love that he loves them. One great way to take part in this would be to join our summer of service campaign.
Make a decision to serve in any way that you can this summer, whether it is simply helping out a neighbor with a project like yard work or buying the guys meal behind you in the drive thru. It might be sponsoring a child through Compassion, changing their life forever, or it may be helping with our schoolbox giveaway later this summer as we look to bless and impact children right here in Boise. However it looks, we need to find a way to look outside ourselves and begin to look for the opportunities to serve others.
When we do, complacency begins to fade and we begin to tap into a joy and peace that defies explanation.