Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12: 48 (NIV)
It’s one of those mornings against which to measure your indifference level. The emerging sun sparkled hues of red from the leaves of our maple tree outside the kitchen window, while brightly colored birds flew in to enjoy the seed in the bird feeders and water in the bird bath. Watching our basset hound, Lily, sniff her way out the back door would lead one to believe that a number of critter visitors made their way into the side yard during the night.
There was and is a lot of stuff going on, all while gentle breezes rustled through a yard full of new growth from the lawn and shrubs—summer was in full swing as evidenced by just another typical morning’s basket of gifts from above. Gifts we’ll either stop to view with value, or pass over unnoticed with seeming indifference.
To a less sensitive and indifferent soul the occasion one evening a few years ago would probably have passed into history as a moment to just let her cry herself to sleep. But to our son Nathan, the Daddy of our elder granddaughter Hannah, it was another moment to demonstrate his love for her and the sacred value he placed on her and her feelings. As he entered her room and gently brushed away the tears on her cheeks from the sobs floating from her tiny body, he could barely discern the words coming from her lips—“I miss my Mimi.”
“Do you want to call her?” he asked. “You call her Daddy”, Hannah gently offered as she began to calm a bit, “and tell her I love her…and other things you know I would want to say.”
And so he placed the call, as she knew he would, and all was soon quiet and well in her precious little soul.
Webster’s Third New International dictionary defines “indifferent” as an attitude which looks upon something—“as not mattering one way or another…that something is regarded as being of no significant importance or value; marked by a total, or nearly total, lack of interest in, or concern about, something;…having a morally neutral nature…”
“Apathy” is a close synonym. “Not caring” is an indicator of its presence. And in its fully developed state, well, “indifference” could generate into a condition where “good” would have trouble finding a foothold.
I wonder how it tends to set in. I wonder if we begin to learn it as children from our parents. I wonder how we would recognize its stealthy approach—as it begins to change our priorities from those which God lists as important to what friends and society say are important?
Maybe “indifference” is a product of comfort and indulgence, or on the other hand, perhaps it’s the end result of coming out on the short end of too many battles. I hope it’s not an inevitable touchstone on our life’s journey. Because one could see that its tentacles could imprison compassion behind the fences of self-centered lives, God-less families, indulgent communities, and isolated neighbors and countries.
Clearly, “indifference”, sadly prevalent in the hearts of too many walking the streets today, is too often not recognized for its true nature—the entry point on the slippery slope of setting aside our personal and moral responsibility toward others.
“Indifference” is the antithesis of duty; a duty innately created within us wanting to aid others, to help lift them up in life, and to fan the flicker of hope they see in their future which God has placed there.
We have all seen that…
· When “indifference” deftly creeps into the day-to-day life of a parent—children learn they are not valued;
· When “indifference” snakes its way into our churches—buildings and stained glass windows are put in place while children and families suffer in the reflection cast through the window’s glow;
· When “indifference” worms its way into our families—traditions and important memory-making moments are missed and maybe lost forever;
· When “indifference” settles into the easy chairs of our marriage—couples grow cold and empty;
· When “indifference” infects the hearts of our young—they lose their sense of wonder and hope for becoming all they were created to be; and
· When “indifference” becomes the way of nation—civilizations around them perish for want of a helping hand toward freedom, aid, or heroes standing courageously with them against the evils of tyranny and destruction.
As you depart the main exhibit of the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, these words by Pastor Martin Niemoeller, etched on the wall, will become forever etched in your heart:
“In Germany, the Nazis 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 they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak.”
Never again, you say? We know better, don’t we?
And Jesus gently admonishes us:
“…to whom much is given, much is expected…”
Indifference. It’s not an option.
For history will judge us—both in the short and long-term—as individuals, as parents and families, as churches and communities, and as a nation, based on how we treated the least of those among us, and history must show that we developed a depth of caring that moved us at our deepest levels—to action, to service, to courage and to hope for all the world.
Just something for us to think about in all of our todays and tomorrows for the rest of our lives.
In His Name—Scott