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Ministers Blogs

“You Can’t Ride the Fence”


By Mark T. Tonkery


            The story is told of a man who called the preacher about becoming member of the church.  The man wanted to explain a few things to the preacher before he placed his membership with the congregation.  The man said, “I want you to understand that I will not be at worship service every week, study the Bible much, visit the sick, or try to teach anyone else what I believe.”

            The preacher said, “The church that you need to become a member of is in another section of town.”

            The man took the directions and when he arrived at the church building; it was abandoned, boarded up and ready for demolition.

            Does this man sound like anyone you know?  Maybe even yourself? 

The church is falling on some hard times when its members will not do anything to help it to grow, mature, and develop it into what God needs it to be.  The warning to the church in Laodicea is a warning to the church today.  Jesus states in Rev 3:16, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Notice what being lukewarm means, “Neither acting hostile to Christ, nor zealous for Him…they were apathetic towards Christ. This lukewarmness was most offensive, and hence the Lord declares that they shall be rejected like nauseous food. The figure indicates loathing.” (The People’s New Testament).

            A man, during the Civil War, decided to be absolutely neutral.  He put on a gray jacket and a pair of blue trousers to indicate he was for both the Confederacy and the Union.  One day, he got caught in a battle skirmish between Confederate and Union soldiers.  He walked out in the middle of the troops shouting his neutrality.  But the Union seeing his Confederate jacket riddled it with bullets and a Confederate sharpshooter plugged him in the seat of his trousers.

            You see, you can’t be neutral or “ride the fence” in a war nor can you “ride the fence” in the church.  We are either for Christ or we are against Him.  Matthew 6:24 reminds us, “No man can serve two masters:  for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and money.”

            So the choice is ours.  Will we be busy about the work of the church, studying our Bibles, coming to worship and Bible study, visiting the sick, and teaching one other?  We either will or we won’t; the choice is up to us?  Joshua challenged Israel:  “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).  Will we?