Drifting

March 16, 2019

Drifting

By Russell George

Imagine with me that you and your wife are on vacation. You are pulling your launch behind your car. You are traveling through a part of Wyoming where you have never been. After checking out of the motel where you spent the night, you start on the road again. After driving a few miles you find yourselves on a road along side of a gently flowing river. You say to your wife, “Hey, let’s pull off here and put the launch in the river and explore around a little here. She agrees. When you get to the middle of the river you decide to shut off the motor and just let the launch drift down the river. You plan to start the motor again in about a half hour and go back up the river to where you left your car.

You and your wife both stretch out on your hammocks and enjoy the ride. After a mile or more you find yourselves in a place where there are bluffs covered with trees on both sides of the river. What beautiful scenery!

What you don’t know is that in about five miles farther down the river there is a 25 foot waterfall. Your launch will plunge over the falls and be torn apart on the rocks below. You both have life preservers on but you will still most likely be thrown on the rocks where you will suffer some broken ribs and bruises. What an awful way to end a leisurely time drifting down the river!

If we rightly understand the Bible, such will be the end at death of those who are drifting through life without having given any consideration to what the Bible says about the gospel message. John 3:19 says, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Christ’s death frees us from condemnation if we put our trust in him. Romans 5:8-9 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

In Matthew 6:20 Jesus said, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” We aren’t going to lay up any treasures in heaven by drifting through life. The only thing we can take to heaven with us is our memory. I would like to think that all we have forgotten will be restored to us when we get our glorified body. I’ll have to wait until I get to heaven to know if I’m right about that.

If we drift through life, making little effort to make our life count for something, there will be few, if any, rewards waiting for us when we get to heaven. Those of us who are senior citizens find great satisfaction in looking back and reliving the ways God has used us to make a difference in the lives of others. If we haven’t surrendered our lives to the Lord, he can’t use us. Much of our life is spent just doing the “have to” things of life like working, sleeping, bathing, traveling to and from, etc. In heaven the only satisfaction we we will get from those things will be that we did what we had to do. The thing that gives us the greatest satisfaction is the way we have lived our life. That which will earn us rewards in heaven will be what we did that we didn’t have to do. They are things like how we used our talents, how we gave our money, and our time to serve God and others. We don’t do those things while drifting through life. They take effort and sacrifice on our part.

Many, with the help of our government, have perfected the art of drifting. They have found ways of getting unemployment checks and food stamps. That way they don’t have to put forth any effort to pay their way through life. They may be limited as to what they can do, but they can spend their time playing golf, watching television, or what ever they find enjoyment in doing. Work, for them, is housekeeping. Maybe they can console themselves by saying, “I’m not hurting anyone.” Yes, but they aren’t of any earthly good. They don’t feel guilty about living at the expense of tax payers because the financial help they receive is called an entitlement.

Christians have the promise found in Philippians 4:19. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” That doesn’t mean they can drift through life and expect God to supply all their needs. Again and again in the Bible we find indications that God expects his people to work. Consider the following verses. “He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.” (Proverbs 18:9), “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” (Proverbs 13:4, and II Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

God doesn’t look with favor on you if you are drifting through life. You can claim the promise of Philippians 4:19 if you are handicapped and can’t work. If that is your situation, others can enjoy the blessing and rewards of God by helping to meet your needs.

Even if we have surrendered our life to the Lord to do his will, we still need to be constantly seeking his will about how we can and should use our time and talents to serve him. It is easy for Christians to get occupied in trivial things like hobbies or entertainment. Maybe those aren’t sinful things, but the time could be used in more profitable things. Maybe God wants to burden your heart about the hurting people who are suffering because of their sinful lifestyle or the sinful life style of others around them. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Hurting people often respond to those who offer them consolation. They are willing to listen when someone shares the gospel with them. When they see that you are enjoying a peace that passes all understanding they want to know what makes the difference.

We need to seek out those who are hurting. By reading the local newspaper you can find the names of those who have lost a loved one. I you can find their address you can go by their house and give them a bag of cookies and some Christian literature. Try to make their acquaintance. You might offer to take them out for coffee. Perhaps you can go to the hospital during visiting hours and go room to room offering consolation to those who are suffering. Relatives visiting them may also need consolation. Let them know that someone cares and ask them if there is anything you can do to help them. Leave them a gospel tract with your name, address, and telephone number on it.

Don’t be a drifter. Be a doer. Make your life count for something. You will be glad you did.

Drifting – Part Two

By Russell George

There is a time when drifting is justified. Every night we need to drift off to sleep. We need to set time limits on how long we sleep. Proverbs 6:9-11 says, “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” The sluggard sleeps too much. He sleeps when he should be gainfully employed. We need sleep. It contributes to our health and well being. It enables us to do a good days work, but no one gets paid to sleep. We don’t get any work done while we are sleeping. Poverty comes to those who sleep too much.

Drifting goes on all the time. Some are more guilty than others. We tend to follow the crowd. We think like those around us. It’s easy to just believe what we hear instead of giving thought to what we hear and accepting or rejecting it. There is what is called “group think.” The way people think depends on the group they are in. Some might ask, aren’t Christians expected to be drifters because they are expected to accept what they are told? Isn’t that group think? Aren’t we expected to live by faith? That is and isn’t true. Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

God not only tells us what we should believe, but he also tells us why we should believe it. When I was in seminary I took a course in sermon preparation. I was taught that a sermon should have a preposition. That means we should know what we expect to accomplish by preaching the sermon. Often the proposition begins with the words “You should… Our purpose was to tell people what they should believe or what the should do or not do. The sermon, of course, needs to have a text, or a portion of Scripture to base it on. Then the pastor develops his outline. It is to back up the proposition. His outline may have three or more main points. He prepares himself to tell people, “You should do or believe this, not only because of what the Bible says, but there are other logical reasons for believing or doing.”

Yes, we accept the Bible as the divine word of God. We should believe it and accept it. We don’t need to stop there. We have every reason for asking why. If we are logical in our reasoning we will conclude that there is good reason for our belief and actions.

Christians should be prepared to defend their beliefs. To say, “I believe it because that’s what the Bible says” may not be a satisfactory answer for an unbeliever. We can defend the authority of the Bible, but we can also say with authority, “People live better if they live the way God says they should.”

More and more colleges in our day are indoctrinating students in irrational ideologies. If someone comes along who doesn’t accept that ideology he isn’t allowed to set foot on the campus. They fear that their students may see that there is another point of view that makes more sense. Their students are told what to believe, but they can’t logically defend their beliefs.

If someone goes to a Christian college with some irrational political ideology he won’t have much success in getting the students to accept it. He will find that the students there have been taught to think for themselves and are prepared to defend what they believe.

In our day the word “racist” is used as a term of derision. Often the one being called a racist isn’t guilty of thinking that he or she is superior to those of other races. The truth is that he is called a racist because he doesn’t think like the one that calls him a racist. He is called a racist to put him down. Our country isn’t being divided by racial discrimination. What is dividing our country is the arrogance of some who think they are justified in putting down, even hating, those who don’t agree with them. Proverbs 29:27 says, “An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.”

Those who drift through life nearly always come up short. Proverbs 10:4 says, “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” Unfortunately our government has made it possible for drifters to get unemployment checks and food stamps. It is unfortunate that working people have to pay for that when they pay their taxes. Even so, drifters are limited in what they can attain. They are forever dependent. There is much more they would like to have and do, but they can’t.

God doesn’t look with favor on those who don’t work. God made Adam, the first man, and put him in the garden. Genesis 2:15 says, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Right from the beginning he expected him to work. It is work to keep a garden. As we go through the Bible we find other verses that indicate that God expects us to work. Proverbs 10:4 says, “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand.” Proverbs 13:4 also says, “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing.” Psalm 62:12 says, “Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.” Last of all, we read in II Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

Drifting is effortless. It is easy to be carried down stream. It takes effort to go up stream. Many young people start taking drugs because it is the “in thing” to do. They haven’t stopped to ask themselves, where will this take me? If they had any wisdom they would know that it leads to addiction. That is a terrible situation to be in.

If you have drifted into thinking like your group thinks you need to stop and ask yourself, “Am I justified in thinking this way? Have I thought this out? Do I have good justification for thinking this way or am I just thinking this way because my group thinks this way?”

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