A German pastor who survived a World War 11 concentration camp (Martin Niemoller) wrote, “In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then the Nazis came for the Trade Unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then the Nazis came for me—and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
The medieval writer Dante once said, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who remain indifferent in a time of great moral crisis.”
Henry David Thoreau thought that most men choose “to live out their lives in quite desperation.” Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring experience or nothing at all.” In a sense, Mrs. Keller is saying that each of us has the opportunity to choose how we will live our personal, individual lives. It has ever been true that our choices have consequences upon our lives and (may) cause our lives to be “a daring experience or nothing at all.”
The importance of making a difference in our lives instead of living a life of indifference was dramatically told by John Wayne playing Davy Crockett in the 1960 movie, “The Alamo.” To his sweetheart, Davey said, “I’m gonna tell you something Flacca, and I want you to listen tight. Now it may sound like I’m talking about me, but I’m not. I’m talking about you. As a matter of fact, I’m talking about all people everywhere.
“When I came down here to Texas, I was looking for something. I didn’t know what. Seems like you added up my life and I spent it all either stompin’ other men, or in some cases getting stomped. Yea, I had me some money and I had me some medals. But none of it seemed worth a lifetime of pain for the mother who bore me. It was like I was empty.
“Well, I’m not empty anymore. That’s what’s important. To feel useful in this old world. To hit a lick against what’s wrong, or to say a word for what’s right; even thou you may get walloped for saying that word. There’s right and there’s wrong, and you gotta choose one or the other. You choose the one and you’re living. You choose the other....well, you may be walking around, but you’re as dead as a beaver hat!”
When we choose to live lives of “quiet desperation,” full of “nothing at all,” emptiness will become our best friend. As Davey Crockett looked back over how he had lived his life, he knew he had made some bad choices that had left his life meaningless, his soul feeling empty. Only when Davey came to Texas to fight for Texas independence did he feel his life was purposeful and making a difference. Only when Davey chose to stand firm for faith and freedom, did his emptiness become completeness.
People of indifference are not only poison for a nation, but also fatal for a church.
Revelation 3:14-17, (Jesus speaking to John), “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of the creation of God. I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm (indifferent) and neither cold not hot, I will spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.’ But you do not know that you are wretched, miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.”
Next time: The Laodicean Christian and you and me -- a connection of some sort? Considered, in the conclusion to “Indifference.”
Like us at Facebook: firstchristianchurchdonnatexas.
Chris Voss is a pastor at First Christian Church, 317 S. Main, Donna.