by Pastor Tim Burt
I’ve experienced something lately that I don’t ever remember experiencing to this degree. It’s unthankfulness, ungratefulness, and a spirit of entitlement. I’m not going to write specifically about these attitudes now, but I have to say that they’re deadly, destructive, and dangerous. Tim, your saying these attitudes are that bad? The answer is yes! Probably worse than I could find words for. And these attitudes blind your heart from the depth of God’s love and seeing all He has done and is doing in your life. They blind you and turn you to looking at what you don’t have instead of what you do. These attitudes are like the train to a miserable life that also fuel detrimental side-effects impacting all society. These attitudes wear down the most giving and selfless people who live to serve others and make other’s lives better. Selfless people are the salt of the earth. Life on earth would be miserable without them. And these horrific attitudes (which on the surface seem so insignificant), wear people down! And why am I bringing them up here? Because these horrible attitudes start with neglect—neglecting God.
Do you want to know what the polar opposite of neglect is? It’s appreciation, thankfulness, and concerning God, worship. It’s these three heart attitudes toward God and then toward others, (excluding the worship of man), that help keep you from neglect and help you learn to live as Jesus said, “A servant to all…”
What does neglect look like? Like the picture I painted of the beautiful garden—something beautiful, neglected, taken over by weeds, and almost dying. That’s what neglect does. Our relationship with Jesus could be a beautiful and wonderful relationship but neglect can make it feel dead. Significant relationships can suffer. Your life can start to look like an overgrown weed patch where the beauty is overtaken by the weeds. Neglect comes from the family of lazy, procrastination, and indifference and will lead you to attitudes of unthankfulness, ungratefulness, and a spirit of entitlement.
The story of Nehemiah is a story of neglect. But, it has a good turn as it becomes a story of revival and passion. God’s people had neglected God, His word, and His ways. They developed the attitudes I described above. Eventually, those attitudes lead to the destruction of Jerusalem as it was torn down and it’s leaders, led off to captivity. That attitude prevailed for over 70 years and no one did anything about it until God moved on the heart of two men—Nehemiah and Ezra the priest. They knew the neglect of Jerusalem could not go on. They repented and prayed for God’s help. God miraculously enabled them. Those two men’s prayers and passion led to the stirring of others. They drew others into their zeal knowing it was the will of God, and together they fought passionately for what they new God wanted. They miraculously by God’s help, rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and reestablished the city, temple worship, and the home of the Jews—all in record time despite suffering every tactic of the devil thrown at them to give up. They then made a pledge to God saying, “The people of Israel, including the Levites, are to bring their contributions of grain, new wine and oil to the storerooms where the articles for the sanctuary are kept and where the ministering priests, the gatekeepers and the singers stay. “We will not neglect the house of our God.” Nehemiah 10:39 (NIV)
Have you been neglecting God? Have you been displaying attitudes of unthankfulness, ungratefulness, and entitlement toward God and others in your life that God has pointed out to you more than once? How can we neglect something significant and think it won’t make a difference? Only deception produces that kind of thinking.
So what’s the solution? Ask God to show you and make you aware of what you’ve neglecting beginning with Him. Meditate on it and as God shows you, let thankfulness, gratefulness, and appreciation grow in your heart. Let them bubble up and manifest as actions and doings in your life. Express that thanks! Show that thanks! Let gratefulness bubble up and spill from you continuously. The grace of God will lead you to action and dismantle neglect. That in turn will result in a new level of joy and thanksgiving to your life that is almost indescribable and will touch others around you! You’ll become that salt of the earth. You’ll begin to look like that beautiful garden!
Matthew 23:23 (NLT) “… do not neglect the more important things.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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