“Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!“ –Amos 6:1
“But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.”
“Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.” – Psalm 123:4
“Listen, you women who lie around in ease. Listen to me, you who are so smug.” – Isaiah 32:9 (New Living translation)
Laodicea is of course the church in Revelation that is rich, at ease, and neither “hot” or “cold”. Someone cold to the gospel would likely be an atheist or someone who hates God. And someone “hot” to the gospel would be zealous to do God’s work, preach His word and good news, and to truly be His servant.
I have an analogy from what I have experienced in a work environment. Have you ever come across the type of people who are just careless, tenured and thus secure in their position, or the people who will not trouble-shoot problems because they would have to work with other departments to do so? They might do their job reasonably well from a short-term view, but long term they can be a disaster – a disaster of apathy. A well versed statement of these types of people is “that’s not my job”. They protect their own interests and their own job, but are relatively apathetic when it comes to the best interests of the company as a whole.
In my experience for a company to be profitable you can’t have lazy or sloppy people dragging the whole operation down. It is one thing to be inexperienced and making mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes and has a learning curve. It is another matter to not be passionate to boost the company and improve personal performance.You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to make a positive impact. You just have to care.
In one of my accounting jobs I discovered that the company I worked at was undercharging their online customers for at least a month. This had come after a recent change to their online processing. Even though problems were noticed and brought to light, no one did anything to fix it nor said anything to the executives and decision makers. I was going about processing accounting information, and these missed billed amounts were not even on my reports but I dug deeper and investigated. I immediately brought the issue to light. We had under-billed customers by more than $50,000 dollars due to technical issues following a change to the e-commerce website. Following my reporting the issue, we were able to issue a follow-up billing where most of the money was collected and the e-commerce charging was corrected going forward.
It seemed that people treated the event rather casually though. This was not a huge company, and they could not afford to lose that money to carelessness or apathy.
It was ironic also because the following month I was reprimanded by management because I returned a report to a department known for their sloppiness, where I noted that the information provided to me was unacceptable because the (only) pertinent information was chopped off the page because of the way it was printed. I did not say anything mean, just matter-of-fact. And I had written the note in too large of print. In my defense, this same thing had happened before, and they had not provided the correct information when I requested the other time. So I had saved the company $50K the month before, with no specific thank-you to me directly, and was taken to task the month later. Yes, the tenured incompetents are often the ones the system rewards. Some people with long-term tenure do really care and are the solid bedrock of the company, but some are just lazy and entitled. The way I look at it, however, is that if you do your job in an excellent manner whether you are there a little time or a long time, you might save the job of the guy or gal next to you — and even save the company and all of the jobs it provides.
In God’s system — we don’t get commended for doing the bare minimum. If we do the bare minimum we produce no profit. As Christians, by definition we should be Christ’s servants. If we have an entitled attitude, that is the opposite of being a servant.
But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
If you ask me, the world needs more salesmen who get to work early, and accountants who stay late. The world needs people who CARE.
Chuck Missler has an excellent sermon series on the 7 churches of Revelation. I may disagree on some statements made, but he has some unique insights that he brings together. Here is his assessment of Laodicea. It is a caution for us all not to be at ease or apathetic to larger concerns than just us.
And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.
And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.