“I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and musicians responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields. So I rebuked the officials and asked them, ‘Why is the house of God neglected?’” Nehemiah 13:10-11
Nehemiah discovered a mess among God’s people, and he decided to clean it up. The “house of God” not only meant the temple, but all of the beliefs and practices that should be found among those who follow God. These beliefs and practices were so neglected that the spiritual leaders had all gone back to their fields. They had abandoned their posts. Apathetic, they walked away from the Lord and His ways.
What happens when we find apathy toward following Christ in our homes? Well, we’re likely to discover a spiritual mess.
Rather than relying on the Lord in times of trial, we slip into self-sufficiency seeking to fix our problems through our own means.
Rather than standing on God’s Word as truth, we determine what is right in our own eyes.
Rather than serving others with God’s love, we make sure that our own needs are met first. Let’s take these three examples and turn them into a plan for “apathy prevention” at home.
Prayer – Prayer acknowledges that there is a significant Other in our midst. We don’t have to figure it all out on our own. We pray and seek wisdom from the God who supplies it. Practice this at home often. When your child tells you about an issue at school, simply state, “Why don’t we take a minute and pray about it. Let’s ask God to give you wisdom (strength, courage, or whatever is appropriate).” And then pray. God listens and will help.
Scripture – Our world is full of situational ethics; people determining what is right in any given situation based on their own interpretations. Scripture provides guiding, enduring principles that help us interpret our world and shape our responses. When talking about an issue, ask your kids, “Does God’s Word tell us anything that will help us?” Involve them in the discovery of Biblical guidance, and you will benefit them for life.
Service – We all naturally take care of our own needs. It is easy to become apathetic toward the needs of others. By serving as a family, you push against the selfishness that abounds in our world. This month we’re going to try something new. As part of our monthly giving, I’m going to put cash on the table and ask, “How can we use this to serve others this month?” With some very basic ground rules, I believe our kids will be creative in thinking of ways to keep the needs of others in our hearts and minds.
Make this resolution: "I will not go back to the fields. I will not abandon my spiritual post. We will press forward in our faith, together, as a family." And apathy will be a stranger in your home.