OceanSide church of Christ
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VERY CONCERNED FOR THE UNCONCERNED
Victor M. Eskew
Paul was a Christian evangelist who established congregations of the Lord’s people in a host of cities in the Roman Empire. After Paul departed from a city, he did not forget the Christians that he left behind. His mind was constantly churning, thinking about the faithfulness of the brethren, the problems they were experiencing, and the desire that he had for them to enter into heaven’s gate. In II Corinthians 11:28, he wrote: “Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” The apostle was always deeply concerned for his brothers and sisters in Christ. The multiple letters that we have from him to the churches in the New Testament prove this fact.
The concern that the apostle Paul had for his brethren is the same concern many Christians today have for their fellow Christians. The word “concern” involves having a deep interest in another’s welfare. The one who is concerned for another feels that the person for whom he is concerned is very important. When things are not right in the lives of those important to them, the one who is concerned gets anxious, troubled, and disquieted within. Sadly those who are concerned for others sometimes find that the one they are concerned about is unconcerned for himself. The only adds to the person’s concern.
One of the things that every child of God should be concerned about in his/her Christian growth. Another way of expressing Christian growth is by the words “soul-development.” Every Christian became a Christian by experiencing the new birth (John 3:3-5). At that point, the new convert was a babe in Christ. From that moment onward, the new Christian was to grow, develop, and mature. Some, however, do not grow like they should (Heb. 5:12-14). Their knowledge remains very shallow. They do not mold themselves into the image of Christ. They do not step up to positions of responsibility as they should. Elders, preachers, and faithful Christians are concerned about these babes in Christ. They have been given a command to grow (II Pet. 3:18), but they are not growing. As babe, they are very vulnerable. Too, they are accountable unto their heavenly Father. Sadly, so many of them are unconcerned and persist in their childish ways as if no problem exists in their spiritual lives.
Another group some within the church are very concerned about are those who are entangled in sin. It could be a sin of commission, that is, something they are doing. It could be a sin of omission, that is, something one is not doing. It could involve what some view as “little sins,” cursing, lying, failing to attend the worship services regularly. It could involve “big sins,” adultery, drunkenness, or complete apostasy. The faithful are deeply concerned about their sinful lifestyle. They pray for them. They try to speak to them. They know that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). They know that sins not repented of will damn the souls of sinners (James 5:19-20). Sadly, again, some of these sinners seem to be unconcerned about their sins. Their sins do not hurt their conscience. They do not seem to fear any of the eternal consequences for their transgressions.
A third group for whom many express concern is parents with children who are at home. Children are a gift from God (Ps. 127:3). This makes parents stewards of the souls of the girls and boys God has given to them. God has charged parents with training their children in the right way (Prov. 22:6). A great deal of their training is supposed to be in the way of the Lord (Gen. 18:19; Deut. 6:6-7; Eph. 6:4). The concerned are watching. They understand the enormity of the task assigned to parents. Yet, some seem so unconcerned. It is no big deal if their children miss Bible classes. They don’t’ really care if their children participate in the youth group. Some are not even concerned enough to bring them to the worship services on a regular basis. The concerned are constantly asking themselves: “Why are parents so unconcerned about the spiritual welfare of their children?” The answer to this question is woefully lacking.
Another group for whom the faithful and responsible have concern involves those who fail to be active in the works of the local congregation. In I Corinthians 12, Paul describes the church as the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:27). This body is supposed to be working together to build up the kingdom of God. “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16). Some members of the body have little concern for their role in the body. Various works need to be done, but they do not participate therein. If the church is successful in her labors it is in spite of their role instead of because of their efforts. What is concerning is that this attitude impacts 75% to 90% of the church. It is almost as if the local congregation means nothing to these members. They have little concern about the growth and success of the church to which they belong.
Having a lack of concern in any of these areas involves a heart problem. The heart does not love God as it should. The heart is not grateful to the Lord all that He has done. The heart does not appreciate the seriousness of the will of God. The heart does not comprehend the harm done to the church. The heart is not aware of the consequences of such unconcern.
My friend, if you are one who falls into the category of being unconcerned, we want you to know that we are concerned for you. Your calls for us not to be concerned fall on deaf ears. You will not change our concerns. Our prayer is that you will look on our concerns with concern. Please remember that many have learned the sobering lesson that a person can become concerned for himself, his family, and others too late.