I’m sure you have heard of some who have a “don’t care attitude.” The word for such is apathy. Apathy is a lack of concern, interest or zeal. It is being indifferent. In this day and time, apathy is something believers must avoid.
I was just thinking how much this malady is affecting our generation. Sadly, it affects many believers!
The Impact of Circumstances
What happens around us usually impacts people in one of two ways — positively or negatively. If we see circumstances that challenge us to get out and get involved, we react positively. If we see things happening that are out of control, we may respond negatively — often with criticism. However, when some see those same occurrences, they don’t respond either way. They just don’t care. They refuse to be involved — not because they shouldn’t, but because they are indifferent, and it doesn’t matter to them one way or another.
The Need for Zeal
The world in which we live is a mess — and getting worse. There are those who believe that in the last days everything will get increasingly better, but that is not what the Bible says. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Having nothing to do with them” (II Tim. 3:1-5 NIV). Can such be stopped? No. But believers have the responsibility to react to the needs of the lost by sharing the gospel (good news) that there is a Deliverer who can help them deal with life and ultimately enjoy everlasting life.
The Opponent of Sympathy and Empathy
When apathy sets in, it becomes an opponent to being able to sympathize with the inabilities, hurts and needs of others. If a believer just simply doesn’t care, it causes him or her to be unable to empathize, to even attempt to understand what others are dealing with in their lives. When we empathize with others, we try to look through their eyes at the circumstances affecting them. To do so is evidence that we care. Often, we cannot sympathize unless we first empathize. Apathy is an opponent in so many ways — but certainly, it is an opponent to Christian ministry.
Zeal is the Real Deal
God’s Word urges believers to battle apathy and, instead, be zealous in the service of Christ. The apostle Paul wrote, “…Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:10-11). Apathy thwarts the believer’s effort to be obedient to the Lord’s commands. “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them” (James 4:17). The believer must, despite feelings, be vigilant, pressing on to defeat the apathy that hinders. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. 6:9-10).
A man was asked if he knew the meaning of apathy. He responded, “I don’t know, and I don’t care.” As those who have been bought with the high price of the blood of Christ, we must avoid apathy. We must care for others just as Christ cares for us.
Believers, time is short for us to do what Christ has commissioned us to do. We must be alert, giving our best to the Master! “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Col. 3:23-24).