Years ago I remember watching an episode of “The Simpsons”. Homer—who has to be the worst husband and father in the world—was frustrated that the government wasn’t providing every service he desired as a citizen. So he decided to run for Mayor and his slogan was “let someone else do it!”
Well, speaking to a lazy and irresponsible electorate—very indicative of post-modern America—Homer won in a landslide. He promised the government would do everything from picking up garbage to cutting your lawn to changing the diapers on your baby. Well, of course, things finally caught up with him and he was thrown out of office.
That attitude of “Let someone else do it” seems to have infected many aspects of American life. A poll I saw about 6 years ago showed something like 81% of Americans thought the Federal Government spent too much money and was too big. But when the question was asked “Would you favor a reduction in government spending if it affected a benefit you were receiving, the large majority said “no”.
So in other words, stop giving hand outs to the other guys but make sure my gravy train continues. In fairness I think the government can play a positive role in helping to provide a safety net for people who cannot provide for themselves. But in the past—long before government social security and welfare—people in need were helped by their family or church.
But the “let someone else do it” attitude extends beyond financial services. I see that it is permeating some believers in a very unhealthy way.
Many Christians have the “let someone else do it” attitude when it comes to the local church they attend. “Hey, I’ll just show up on Sunday for an hour, put a little something in the collection plate and go back to my life. But don’t ask me to get involved in serving the church or sharing the gospel—that’s why we hired a pastor after all.”
Studies show the amount of giving to charities or non-profits by Christians is only marginally higher than many non-Christians. 20% of the people in a church usually provide 80% of the church’s funds. And in Christian radio, ,studies show that less than 10% of listeners ever bother to support the ministry that brings them Christian music and teaching 24 hours a day.
The “let someone else do it” attitude among many Christians even extends to the raising of their children in the ways of the Lord. We send them to youth night on Wednesday and expect the youth pastor to teach them the Word, entertain them and make sure they don’t do drugs or get pregnant. But the reality is it is we as parents who are ultimately responsible for the path of life our children choose. No matter how good the youth group is that they attend, our children see the example we set every day in words and actions. That is how they will learn what a Christian is. Do we drink and tell them not to drink? Do we take the Lord’s name in vain and tell them if they ever do it they are grounded? Fathers, do we tell our sons to respect women all the while we verbally or spiritually abuse our wives?
The “let someone else do it” mentality can also affect how we view the Word of God. Do we spend more time reading Bible commentaries by John MacArthur, Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore or Kenneth Copeland than we do actually reading the Word of God itself, praying for guidance and wisdom from the Holy Spirit. Look there are some very good Bible commentaries out there and there is nothing wrong with seeing what solid teachers of the Word think of what is written. But nothing can substitute for reading the Word of God ourselves, praying that the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth that is written.
But it takes time and effort to get a Bible and resources that will give you strong definitions of the words used, and really dig in to the Word of God. But let me give you a personal example of how this can be a wonderful benefit in our walk as Christians:
1 John is a letter that helps us determine by the Word of God if we are truly saved by grace or fooling ourselves. Until I really dug into God’s Word and took the time to examine the exact definitions of words used in the Word of God, I would question my salvation every time I sinned. This was really beginning to concern me as I professed my love of God but saw myself fall into occasional sin.
1 John 3:4-8
“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.”
This verse can seem very condemning if we do not understand the definition of the word “practice”. Am I “practicing” sin when I succumb to that temptation that leads to an occasional sin? Well if so then we are all in horrible shape because we read these verses to say “if I sin I am of the devil and I am going to hell!”
But the Greek word for ‘practice” is “poieo”, and its definition is “to abide in; agree with; and conspire with”. So in other words if I find myself taking pleasure in my sin; if I find myself conspiring to willfully sin on an ongoing basis; and if I think my sin is acceptable—well then I may truly be a child of the devil as John says. But my occasional sin that I grieve when I commit; that sin which I confess and ask forgiveness for; and that sin that I repent from and try by the power of grace to walk away from next time—that sin will not condemn me before God.
When we actually take the time to not just read—but diligently study the Word of God—the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the truth and perfect balance of a just, right and Holy God who hates sin; and a God of mercy and grace who forgives the sins of His adopted children and teaches us to become more holy each day by the power of His grace and Spirit.
But when you “let someone else do it” you hear the opinions of man. Now sometimes these opinions are very solid opinions—but they still fall short of the perfect, eternal truth of the Word of God. No man—John MacArthur, David Platt, Greg Laurie, your church pastor and certainly not your humble show host have perfect theology and truth. But God’s Word is perfect! That is why every show I encourage you to take everything we share to the Word of God to check it against the Bible. If you depend on your favorite pastor or radio show host to always be 100% correct, you are barking up the wrong tree.
The “let someone else do it” mentality is dangerous and lazy. Are you willing to entrust your salvation and sanctification—your eternal destiny—to a pastor or radio show host? We need to not only read the Word of God—we need to become serious students of the Bible. Yes, that takes time—time away from your television or sporting events or the hours spent shopping.
Jesus said the greatest commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength.” To love Him, we must intimately know Him. And following a pastor or teacher can only get us so far. We need the Holy Spirit to reveal the depths of the truth of God in His Word. And we need to seek God—really seek Him—not just hope He makes a drive by appearance in a pastor’s sermon or a radio show.
Don’t “let someone else do it”. Do it ourselves—and watch the truth of God come alive and pour out God’s grace upon us.