by Dan Chambers
Last Sunday, as most of you probably know, I was in Marietta, Georgia doing a seminar on “Worship” at the Piedmont Road congregation. That morning, before we left the hotel and headed to the building, I went to the hotel lobby to eat breakfast. I was stunned and heartbroken by what I saw when I stepped off the elevator — wall to wall children in baseball uniforms and all of their parents and chaperones preparing to play baseball.
“But it’s Sunday,” I thought. “It’s the Lord’s Day,” I said to myself. “Oh my, how our culture has changed,” I continued to think as I shook my head.
There was a time — not too long ago, in fact — when scheduling Little League ballgames on Sunday morning was unthinkable. It never even crossed our minds. Sunday morning was when we honored the Lord’s command to gather with the church to worship God, remember the death and resurrection of Christ, and encourage one another. Back then Sunday Little League games would have never worked because far too many people would have refused to put baseball over God.
But that was then and this is now in America. For the majority of Americans, it is clear that Sunday morning has no real spiritual significance. At least it is not so significant that going to church on that day is the number one priority.
As I sat there and ate my cinnamon roll, I pondered the spiritual condition of our culture. The obvious disregard for the Lord’s Day by so many people made me think about my preacher friends in western Europe who tell me about the challenges they face. I thought about how they often tell me that the vast majority of western Europeans have no interest at all in spiritual matters, and then I thought about how much like western Europe we have become.
And then it hit me — no, we are not really like western Europeans, but I think we may be worse off spiritually as a culture than they are. Here is what I mean.
While most Europeans may have no interest in spiritual matters, most Americans only have a superficial interest in them. In other words, while most Europeans are “ice cold” about Jesus, most Americans are “lukewarm” about Him. And when it comes to having a relationship with God “ice cold” may actually be a little better off than “lukewarm.”
Do you recall those bone-chilling words in Revelation 3:15-16 which Jesus directs to the church at Laodicea? “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
Do not be deceived. God is not interested in superficial faith. He will not save those who put other things before Him. Jesus wasn’t just blowing smoke when He said in Matthew 10:37: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of me.” May I add that the principle found in this verse includes not just father, mother, son and daughter, but also Little League baseball and anything else.