Revelation 3; Nehemiah 4; Psalm 98
When it comes to elite cities of ancient Rome, Laodicea was at the top of the list. When an earthquake destroyed the city and Rome offered help, Laodicea turned them down because they could handle it themselves. They were leaders in trade, known for their black wool. A famous ophthalmologist is reported to have worked out of their medical school and he used a salve made from special powders located in the area. Laodicea had wealth and power and the church reflected the society. The words of Jesus were not comforting. “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’–and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked–I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” (Revelation 3:17-18) Much of the same could be said about America. In America we are wealthy. We don’t get help from others, we give it. We take pride in our country, our financial status, our business and industry and in our medical advancement. In many ways, the Church in America reflects our society. The message of Jesus, however, is not that our church should reflect society but that we should carry a word from God to society. Just as Jesus called on Laodicea to repent and depend on Him, we are given the task to call America to repent and turn back to Him. We must learn not to depend upon ourselves but on God. We must learn to seek God rather than the ease and comfort of a culture that has forgotten God. We must lead America to seek the spiritual and not depend upon the material. Before we can do that, though, we need to do that ourselves and then we need to work on our churches. The message of Jesus Christ continues to be counter-cultural even today.
Lord, how easily I slip into our culture which gives so many material benefits. I baptize my slide as receiving Your blessings but I know that our culture is making more of an impact on me than I am on the culture. Give me the strength and the grace to focus on You and not depend on our culture. Remind me of how much I really need You.