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Neglect: Our great reluctance to do God's will

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

(Photo by Ben White/Unsplash)

By Dr. Bascom Ratliff

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches

When people talk about deadly sins, neglect is rarely or never part of the discussion. It seems that we are reluctant to talk about the great harm that neglect is causing God’s church. Neglect, together with its close relative apathy, is threatening to further weaken the Christian church. This destruction comes not from violence or willful disobedience of God’s word, but rather from an attitude of “I don’t have time,” “I don’t care,” or “its not my problem.” Unfortunately, these poor attitudes grow and fester because we often fear getting involved in honoring Jesus’s commandment to freely give to others.

As I write this I am reminded of the catastrophic weather that is assaulting our nation. It’s difficult to deny the problems that a shift in climate are causing. Out-of-control fires, triple-digit temperatures, and dying coral reefs in our oceans signal real and tangible problems of our country and our earth. Most alarming, is the attitude of many that “it is not my problem.” And as long as I have air conditioning, clean drinking water, and the local supermarket with fresh foods, I could care less about the possibility of global warming.

This attitude carries over to our thoughts about gun violence and migrants on our southern border. Until we are personally affected by gun violence or immigration, we are unlikely to work toward changing our attitudes or values and loving others.

I am reminded of the story of the good Samaritan. It is important to note that the first two men who encountered the victim lying wounded by the side of the road chose to ignore him. These were reportedly religious, godly men, who grossly neglected their duty to help someone in crisis. Instead it was a Samaritan who did the work of the Lord that day.

When we neglect our duty as Christians we are instantly a poor witness to those believers and nonbelievers around us. When we see the statistics that indicate the church is losing members and people have no use for God or religion, it should signal a wake-up call for all Christians. After all, Jesus’s great commission was to go into the world and make disciples of all nations. He also makes it crystal clear that when we serve or help others, we are serving him.

Love is the opposite of neglect and apathy. Love calls us to action. Love calls us together. Love renews and fuels our relationship with God and strengthens us for the tasks ahead. My prayer is that all Christians begin working together to resolve the problems caused by our continued neglect and apathy. Becoming concerned and involved is absolutely required of those professing a relationship with Jesus Christ. And remember, the rewards for following a risen Christ are infinitely greater than what we can possibly imagine.

Service First.


If you want to hear more about God’s wonderful promise of unfailing love and enjoy a great morning of music and worship, please come and worship with us.

We will worship at the Parker United Methodist Church during July 2023.

We will worship at the Beagle UMC during August 2023.

We will worship at the Fontana UMC during September 2023.

All services are at 10 a.m.

We serve communion on the first Sunday of each month. All are welcome.

Dr. Bascom Ratliff (913-710-5748)

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches

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