The idea of being a sheep among wolves is a terrifying one. Imagine standing there in a room full of people, or even animals ready to devour you. I imagine that Daniel had a very good sense of what it must have felt like. However his imprisonment in that den of lions was not intentional on his part. The disciples were sent into the world intentionally in such a fashion. Jesus made no secret of what He was doing when He sent them out in Matthew 10. Moreover, that mission continues at the end of the Gospels. The calling to all Christians is to go out into a world that will not like, appreciate, or listen to us. And in many cases it will try to silence us by any means necessary. For most of us that has been a very foreign concept. It is unthinkable that someone would try to harm us for giving hope. Yet, it is coming. We have been spoiled in this country for a very long time. We have been protected by a false sense of morality and goodness and a paper shield in our governmental system.
There is a growing movement, not covered by a hashtag or a college group looking for attention. It is far more subtle than that. It is the movement of accepting the fallen and simply moving on with life like it is a normal thing. We drive by it on a daily basis, see it on the news, and even in our own homes. When things break we accept them as broken and then just go on by. The practice of shrugging our shoulders and accepting sin has become our practice. Apathy has slowly invaded our culture. It came in slowly through the guise of simply letting people be who they wanted to be. To keep our noses in our own business and not judging others. On the surface it sounds like such a great and kind way to be. You go your way and I will go mine and neither of us will affect the other in life. I won’t hurt your feelings and you won’t hurt mine and everything will just be okay. It makes perfect sense. No one wants anyone else to hold them accountable. No one likes to be bossed about. As a species we really do not like being told how to live…until it goes wrong.
When we look around we find that without knowing it a degradation on culture has taken hold. All of a sudden everyone is shouting for help. Everyone is demanding to be listened to, demanding to be given precedence over another. The problem with apathy is that it only ends in death. Apathy is a slow flood, a steady drip that continues and continues until everything is inundated, separated, lost.
When I look at the ministry of Jesus, I do not see one simple problem He was speaking to. His words speak to a myriad of problems. The apathy of society is a major one. In Luke He gives an example of care in the face of apathy in the story of the good Samaritan. It is a very broad stroke of genius covering several aspects of the society. The question is whose job is it to care for people? Whose duty is it to care for people in need? Those questions were asked in Genesis by Cain in regards to his own brother (after he had murdered him of course). The answer is the same. We are responsible for one another. Whether we like it or not, as God’s children, we are supposed to care for one another. The same calling that Jesus gave to His followers is an echo of God’s words to Israel through various prophets, Amos being one of the loudest.
For Christians that means that we have work to do. Not easy simple fun work either. The world is moving so fast and in such a direction to completely reject the word of God in all forms. That means that coming to someone in the name of Christ immediately will be offensive to the world. Apathy cannot abide empathy. It cannot fathom that someone would, should, or can care about more than itself. Apathy is a self defeating system of behavior. The slow flood that has seeped into the fibre of this culture is not slowing down. Rather it is speeding up. It is a tide that is rising and soon will be the surge of a storm that will wash us over and not in a good way. We must be the breakwater in that storm for those around us.
We can not hide away in our church buildings and hope that no one will come knocking. Changes in the world do not sound a retreat for us, rather they are a call to action. The church is not a haven for the saints, it is a hospital for sinners. It is a place where we get the tools we need to go out and be His hands and feet. It is not a place to pass judgment, but a place to teach correct living, grace, justice, mercy, kindness, and love. We cannot be worried about the world coming in, we need to be looking for the chance to break the waters and stand against the evil that would seek to harm our brothers and sisters.
Jesus spends His last several hours with the disciples telling them that things are going to change. That the world is really not going to go along with what they have to teach. The list is painful to those who have lived in the dark. Yet, in the same teaching He is telling them not to be concerned with that. It is time that we took Him at His word and went out into the wolves. It is time we waded into the tide and stood on the solid foundation of God’s word and marveled as the waves crashed around us, broken by the bulwark that is faith, hope and love.