When trying to motivate other people, (or even ourselves) into a living a more purposeful, missional life, we often fall into the trap of, "If they only knew how many kids are starving in India, or memorized all the verses commanding us to care for the less fortunate, or [fill in the blank], surely they would jump to action!" We mistakenly link "engagement" with "knowledge," and are frustrated when we come up empty handed.
Not the root issue
Just as sinful behavior is the outward symptom of the deeper need for Christ, so apathy is the outward symptom of the deeper need to glorify Christ above all else. When we simply tell a non-believer to stop sleeping around, or stop getting drunk, or stop cheating on their spouse, we are ignoring the larger issue. Yes, those behaviors need to change, but the only true change can come from confessing their need for a savior, and accepting the payment made for their sins by Jesus Christ on the cross. Anything less is simply putting a Band Aid over a mortal wound.
So What Is The Issue?
If we only supply the knowledge and opportunity without first seeking to change the heart and attitude, any changes will not last. As with most every pitfall in this Christian life, we run into trouble when we take our eyes off the prize; that is, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:2). The issue here is worship, not knowledge. We know there is a need out there, and we may even know what we need to do, but without the desire to actually do anything, we never succeed in starting the mission in the first place! We talk about the things we love. We are willing to invest and sacrifice for the things we deem worthy - marriage, kids, watching every Seahawks game from start to finish, regardless of how many other plans we have to cancel, etc. So how can we transfer this love and sacrifice back to the only One who is worthy of it?
The Weight of Worship
The majority of people who lose sight of their mission (myself included) also tend to downplay the reality of hell. "When we minimize the severity of God’s judgment for sin, we are less inclined to stand in awe of the marvelous salvation Christ as provided for us," (Trevin Wax). This truth is what drives our worship! Only when we are able to see the depths of our inability and brokenness, can we truly begin to understand the reality of grace. Not only did God make a way for us to simply not burn in hell for our sins, but he has prepared a place for us in heaven (John 14:1-3). Take some time to meditate on these truths today, to acknowledge the consequences of sin (Romans 6:23), and the reality of hell (Revelation 21:8), and to praise the One who saved you (John 3:16), who loves with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), and who is completing a good work in you (Philippinas 1:6).