By the Rev. JONATHAN BAKER
Special to the Sun-Gazette
We've all noticed how hot it has been this summer. One side effect of the heat is that most people want something cold to drink.
I write this as the Little League Baseball World Series is about to start, and if the weather continues the same hot pattern, one of the most saleable items will be ice-cold beverages. Thousands of gallons of water, ice tea, soda, Slushies and other cold beverages will be consumed by fans and players alike. There also will be some who want a hot beverage, even if the temperature is 110 degrees in the shade.
One thing these two groups have in common is that they want their beverage very hot or very cold, not lukewarm. However, when the beverages are not monitored carefully, and given periodic help to maintain their satisfying temperatures, they eventually become lukewarm and satisfy no one.
Like a beverage, we as Christians can become very lukewarm in our daily life, if we do not monitor our spiritual vital signs and give ourselves help to stay satisfying and refreshing. This is the premise of Revelation 3:14-22 where Jesus dictates a letter to the church at Laodicea that includes these words, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot ... So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
Jesus is expressing concern that some, in this case a whole church community, had become so lukewarm in their lifestyle and deeds that they brought refreshment to no one - not the people around them nor the Lord Himself. Their lifestyle and deeds were like the vendor who offers bottled water that has been sitting in the sun all day and offers no refreshment to those who play ball in the heat, sit in the stands or slide down the hill on cardboard. Jesus expects his people to live in such a way that their lives are like a cool breeze on a hot day or a refreshing drink of water for those who are thirsty.
We Christians often miss doing that because of our lack of self-evaluation, or by comparing ourselves to others like us, and if we measure up, we think we are OK. However, scripture tells us that the Bible is like a mirror, and if we examine ourselves in the light of God's Word, we will have a better picture of our situation.
If the Word of God reveals that we are lukewarm in our "followship" of Jesus, how will our lives draw others to Him? Only when we are "hot" in our relationship to the Lord will we be that person who clearly reveals Jesus to our world. Then we will become refreshing in ministry to others like the beverage that is icy cold or steaming hot. We need to live as Jesus would live, to get there.
Take time to remember a Christian theme from a few years ago, WWJD - What Would Jesus Do? It's a great question to ask in every situation, making us think intentionally about our response. Then we will learn to live a life that refreshes others, and in so doing, refresh our Lord as well.
As you see people around Lamade Stadium or elsewhere with a cold or hot beverage in their hand, remember to be intentional in the way you live for Jesus so your life will refresh all who come in contact with you.
Baker is the pastor at Trinity Assembly of God Church in Montoursville.