Falling On Deaf Ears
I often times wonder if Jesus felt the same way. Jesus spent His entire life trying to preach and teach the will of His Father, but sometimes it seemed like His message was falling on deaf ears. Yes there were times when Jesus actually healed the deaf (Mark 7:31-37), but think of all the times He was preaching to people who heard His words, but decided not to hear Him.
I know first hand what it’s like to preach week after week and have no reaction at all to what was said. It’s amazing how many sermons can be preached on attendance, but yet the numbers in the church still suffer. How many sermons have been preached with passion and zeal about being baptized and giving your life to Christ, but yet no one comes forward to respond to the gospel? How many sermons have been preached on unity, brotherly love, and working together as one body, but yet churches still argue, bicker, and split? I know exactly how Jesus felt. It saddens me to look out at the congregation while I’m preaching and see people talking, texting, sleeping, clipping nails, sewing, etc. Am I talking to deaf people? Is what I’m saying falling on deaf ears? I’m sure every preacher has felt like that at some point during their work. Maybe you aren’t a preacher, but I’m sure you’ve still experienced this feeling at some point. It could be your kids, your coworkers, or your friends.
What’s wrong with people today? I think there are three major problems with people today.
People are lazy. I’ll never forget, some time ago, I preach a lesson on becoming stagnant and stale in the Lord’s work. I made a strong effort to get the brethren to see that we had become stuck in a rut. We had become complacent with where we were and we weren’t moving forward spiritually. I was shocked by some people’s reactions. “I’m fine with where we are and I don’t really want to do anything different,” “If we start doing new things, we might get new people and we are fine with who have,” and probably the most shocking, “I know what we need to do, but we just don’t want to do it.”
It amazes me that some people know what they need to do to make changes in their lives, but yet they just don’t want to do it. Paul told the Romans to “not be slothful in zeal, but be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord” (Rom. 12:11). We should be zealous and passionate about serving the Lord. When we see things that need improvement, we should be excited to start working right away. Instead, people have become lazy and they neglect the Lord’s work. People will willingly let other people work hard, while reaping the benefits for themselves. James said, “if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror” (Jas 1:23).
People are too busy. Apparently attending worship services has become optional. It’s apparently acceptable to miss services if you have other obligations at school or work. Sporting events, band concerts, and friend’s birthday parties have now become acceptable supplements for a worship service. I hope you are catching my sarcasm. People have become too busy for Jesus. God has been put on the back burner until all other activities have been accomplished and participated in.
I’m reminded of the time when Jesus was approached by someone who was willing to follow Him where He went. Jesus told the person to follow Him. However, before this person would follow Jesus, he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father” (Luke 9:59). Another person was also willing to follow Jesus, but first he want to “go and bid them farewell who are at my house” (Luke 9:61). Those two attitudes describe our world perfectly; people who want to serve the Lord, but are too preoccupied with other things to give Him one hundred percent.
God should be our number one priority. We should look forward to attending services every week. We should never be too busy to worship God and be with His people. Yet, it seems like people have become so busy in their lives that God has been placed on the backburner.
People are too stubborn. We are all human and therefore we all have a little stubbornness to us. However, there is a growing trend in the world today that if something doesn’t go my way, then I am free to throw a fit until it does go my way. Even Burger King has jumped on the band wagon and made their slogan, “have it your way.” God had to warn the children of Israel as He was giving His commandments and His Law in the book of Leviticus. God said, “If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over. I will break down your stubborn pride” (Lev. 26:18-19).
It seems to me that people don’t understand the urgency in the message of Jesus Christ. After every single one of my sermons, I give an invitation to come to the Lord. Every single invitation consists of two things: a chance to be baptized and a chance to repent. Three times a week I extend an invitation to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. very rarely will someone move from their seat. Some people are scared, some people are unsure about what to do, but I think most people are stubborn. They don’t want to admit they’ve done wrong and can be a sinner. That means they don’t truly understand the urgency of Christ’s message.
Jesus gives us a very strict and stern warning. He reminds us of Noah when he was building the ark. “In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:38-39). Jesus is coming soon. He has given us every opportunity to hear the gospel and respond to it. Don’t let laziness, being busy, or our stubbornness get in the way of following Jesus Christ. “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead” (Luke 16:31)
I wonder how many people will consider these things. I wonder how many people will actually listen to what’s been said and make changes. Jesus wants action. He wants you to hear His words, build your foundation on His commands, and grow in the faith. Will you listen to God’s word or will His words fall on deaf ears?