Sardis: Wake Up!

David Bast

Read: Revelation 3:1-4; Luke 13:1-5

. . . but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:5)

I was driving along and noticed a billboard that had been put up by a local atheists’ group. “Millions of Americans are living happily without religion,” the sign said. “Of course they are,” I thought. When you have plenty of money, and good health, and can travel all over, it’s hard not to be happy. But what happens when those things are taken away—by a pandemic, for example?

What we call pandemics the ancients called plagues, and Revelation is full of them. Seals are broken, trumpets blow, bowls of wrath are poured out; war, famine, and pestilence are unleashed; a quarter of the world dies, then a third. And the plagues keep coming. What’s the point? The point is to get everyone’s attention. “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world” ©. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 81). We might think of plagues as “teachable moments.” It’s God shouting to the world, “Wake up, people! Repent!”

Millions of people living happily without religion are millions of people living happily without God. But that kind of happiness cannot and will not go on. Unless they wake up to the truth, they’re in for a truly rude awakening, and an unexpected and uncomfortable divine visitation. As Christians, we are not immune from slumbering under the illusion of security. Might Jesus be wanting to shake us up, as he did the church in Sardis? —David Bast

As you pray, what is the Lord saying to you?