I can think of many reasons for spiritual retirement. One is my age. I’m past the usual age for work retirement so that seems a good reason. Besides, I’ve been very busy for many years, taking on many different roles and challenges. Right now, being an intercessor, writing this blog, and being involved in two small groups seems to be all God is asking of me. He knows how health and meds have resulted in less energy.
Another reason is circumstance. We moved four years ago to a new church with hundreds attending and where active service needs little recruitment. I’ve washed dishes and served communion, again thinking this is all God wants from me right now.
However, Chambers drops this on me today . . .
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24–25)
He calls this as he sees it; those who are not busy stirring up others, meeting together, and encouraging them are “spiritual sluggards,” or in other words, spiritually lazy. He says, “To live a remote, retired, secluded life is the antipodes of spirituality as Jesus Christ taught it.”
My background makes remote, retired, and secluded an easy life. I’m seldom lonely, contented with very little, and can keep busy. Writing is a solitary task. However, no one has ever called me lazy, even though Chambers is saying I could be. I’ve to determine if this is the voice of the Holy Spirit or not . . .
Chambers says that “injustice and meanness and ingratitude and turmoil” can push a person into being a spiritual sluggard who wants to use prayer and Bible reading for retirement, for using God to gain peace and joy rather than actively bringing the Lord Jesus Christ into the lives of others. Spiritual sluggards just want to enjoy Him and are making a cause out of what should be an effect. I get that. The world is in a mess and all the stuff that goes on makes me want to hide.
Also, Chambers quotes 2 Peter 1:13 where Peter says, “I think it right . . . to stir you up by way of reminder” to add that we are disturbed when convicted by someone who is filled with spiritual activity.
Again, he has a way of using Scripture for a guilt trip. However, this verse is in context of those who are growing in spiritual development by means of spiritual disciplines. Peter is not provoking others to service, but to build in their lives the qualities that make them ready, fit, and willing to serve.
Chambers also says that active work and spiritual activity are not the same thing. I agree. I can be busy with people without the leading of God’s Spirit if I listen to personal reasons and motivations rather than the Lord stirring me to do it.
From all this, I gather that spiritual sluggishness is the attitude of not wanting to be stirred up, only wanting to do as little as possible or wanting to do what I want to do, or what makes me look good. It seems to me the concern should not be a list of what I am doing, but more an examination of why I do it.
I spent the day thinking about this and asking God if He wants me to continue as is, or does He want me to do far more because I’m a spiritual sluggard as Chambers suggests. This is what I heard from Him . . .
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)