I ran across this parable this morning (a parable is a simple story full of symbolism used to make an effective point). It illustrates how organizations–churches included– experience what has been called mission drift. That is:

Organizations tend to move towards complacency over time, rather than urgency.[1]

In the Bible, we see this principle in the book of Revelation when Jesus says to the church at Ephesus:

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Revelation 2:4-5)

The lampstand in Revelation is symbolic of the church’s status as a church. Or simply, their status as light-bearers. So Jesus seems to be saying that the church has become useless because they have forgotten why they exist. If they do not have a revitalization of purpose, they will no longer have the privilege of being called a church. Jesus is not being cruel, but he is holding them to a standard. To be a church should necessarily mean to be an organized group of people who are shining the light of Christ to the world. To call anything less a church would be dishonest and dishonoring to that title.

This principle does not only apply to churches, but I think can be applied to any group or individual with a purpose, whether it is stated or not. I pray every individual, every family, every business, every team, and every church would think about what that purpose is and how it might be threatened by too much comfort, too much past success, and/or complacency.

How might you be drifting towards complacency in your personal life? What about in your church, job, and family? Now might be a good time to pray for wisdom (James 1:5) and be honest with yourself and with your team. If you are still alive, you still have purpose. If you are willing, revitalization is possible!

As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. (2 Thessalonians 3:13)

[1] Groeschel, Craig. “Institutionalizing Urgency, Part 1.” Life.Church. Accessed May 6, 2016. https://open.church/ideas/159-leadership-podcast-institutionalizing-urgency-part-1.

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