I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.Revelation 3:15-16, HCSB
Very little good came out of the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. A wide array of government agencies failed to work together and thus failed hundreds of thousands of people in Mississippi and Louisiana who were counting on their help. However, one personality surfaced from the tragedy to give me a battle cry I want to pass on to you.
His name was Russell Honore and he was the Army Lt. General from Louisiana. When Russell came on the scene, important needs were met immediately. His leadership solved some of the most acute and immediate problems, simply because he would not accept anything but the best from everyone he encountered.
One of Honores friends said this of him: “He has high standards and he is a sworn enemy of mediocrity.” Can I get that etched on my tombstone?
In today’s church, too many of us have become close friends of the mediocre. We get fatigued with the day-to-day pressures of doing ministry—everything from teaching, to helping someone in need, to discipling new believers, to planning a worship service or preparing for a mission trip. Then, we start settling. We stop preparing and start procrastinating. We stop looking and working toward the future and start living in the past. We start talking about the good old days, instead of thinking about the great future God has for us.
Suddenly, a great Bible study becomes stale. We stop returning phone calls and e-mails from those reaching out for help. A great worship time becomes predictable. Then, we start imitating an increasingly mediocre world, where excellence and passion are often impossible to find once a payday is delivered and comfort is embraced. We stop caring.
Then the unchurched stop caring about the church because we really dont look any different than what they see every day in the world. I believe that is what Revelation 3:16 speaks pointedly about. Jesus is talking about how abhorrent apathy and mediocrity in the life of believers are to Him. Abhorrent enough to make Him vomit.
So, how do we avoid the plague of mediocrity? I believe the answer lies in the letter from Jesus;the Witness and the True Originator of creation to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3. After He calls out mediocrity, a.k.a. lukewarm devotion to Him, He gives us the antidote:
As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed and repent. Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:19-20
Mediocrity in life and in ministry comes directly from our lack of intimacy with Jesus.
We travel our own direction and fail to ask Him for forgiveness as we stray further and further from Him.
When we lose touch with our Savior, we lose touch with His passion for excellence and His passion for people. However, when we spend time with Him, His passion and His power rubs off on us. We become His carriers of excellence.
Tired? Passionless? Mediocre?
Get on your knees and spend time with the original Sworn Enemy of Mediocrity right now. His name is Jesus Christ. He will welcome you back.