Wake-up Calls not to Ignore

Blind Faith (No. 26, 2015)
Weekly Devotional for June 25, 2015
Wake-up Calls not to Ignore

Wake up! Some people need only a gentle nudge to emerge from
slumber to productive awareness. Others awaken gradually, perhaps requiring
a series of insistent prodding’s. Then there are the hard-core sleepers,
people who require extraordinary stimuli to compel them to consciousness.
Where do you confess to lie along the spectrum?

An online bargain site sends me daily listings of special deals
on everything from novelties to actually useful items. One intriguing
product is a gadget designed to amuse the easily awakened or to frustrate
the habitual over-sleeper. The digital alarm clock features an alarm that
goes off like a siren, enough to rouse most people. Some models come with as
many as five alarm sound choices. But that is not the unique feature of this
alarm. This is a flying alarm clock! As the online product description says,
“When the alarm goes off, a helicopter flies into the air, carrying the key
to turn off the alarm. The only way to silence the alarm is to get out of
bed and find the key!” Like most digital alarm clocks, these include a
snooze function, although with an insidious catch: “The Flying alarm clock
has a continuous snooze function that rings every seven minutes for an
entire hour.. The snooze feature will only silence the alarm after the rotor
is back in its base and after seven minutes the helicopter will release
again making snooze just not worth it!” Depending on the website you might
select, a flying alarm clock can be yours for the retail price of only
$49.95 . or the online price of $24.95 . or from my special online bargain
site for $2.99 (+ $5.00 shipping!). If the flying alarm doesn’t meet your
needs several websites also offer alarm clocks that shake your bed, or
explode into pieces like a time bomb, or march off the nightstand and hide
if you don’t get up to turn off the alarm.

Waking up from a night’s sleep – especially if the night has
been shortened for some reason – can be challenging, but it is necessary in
order to get the most out of life, to reap the benefits and blessings of a
new day. Work, school, family interaction, errands, daily devotional and
prayer, and many more activities may call us to wake up although we are
settled quite comfortably asleep. Rousing from physical sleep can be
challenging. It also can serve as a useful analogy for the difficulty we may
face when we are wide awake physically but slumbering unproductively
mentally or spiritually.

No, I’m not talking about sleeping in church. (I don’t want to
start meddling, or to disturb anyone’s regular naptime!) Just know that
everyone with closed eyes and a bowed head during church services is NOT
nodding in prayer. Both Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain are credited with
observing, “If all the people who fell asleep in church on Sunday morning
were laid out end-to-end, they would be a great deal more comfortable.”
Church nappers know very well who you are and I’ll leave you to remedy that
situation on your own. A flying alarm clock isn’t the remedy I would
recommend for sleeping in church, however.

Sometimes we become so comfortably at ease in our spiritual
lives that we tend to nod off to sleep. We lose focus on the tasks that call
for our activity as followers of God’s way. We may content ourselves with a
drowsy, undemanding assent to a handful of faith assertions, but turn over
and away from hard questions and ethical demands of faith that threaten to
disturb our dozing.

God’s wake-up call has sounded from prophets and preachers
throughout covenant history. When God’s people only wanted to find a
comfortable place to sleep off the devastation of foreign domination and
captivity, Isaiah sounded Reveille, calling to all of God’s faithful people:
“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all the nations to see! For the
glory of the LORD is shining upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1 NLT) God’s faithful
people always have plenty to do to demonstrate God’s love and grace to a
watching world. “Sleeping in” with only others already within the family of
faith is not enough. God’s people need to get up and get busy with the task
God has always had for us. We are to join David in response to God’s wake-up
call, “Wake up, my soul. Wake up, harp and lyre! I will wake up the dawn.
{9} Lord, I will praise you among the nations; I will sing songs of praise
about you to all the nations. {10} Your great love reaches to the skies,
your truth to the clouds. {11} God, you are supreme above the skies. Let
your glory be over all the earth.” (Psalm 57:8-11 NCV)

Paul issued a strong wake-up call, tinged with warnings about the
dangers of hitting the spiritual snooze alarm too many times. He set his
call squarely in the context of sharing each day in God’s work of love and
grace:

You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the
law code, the sum total is love. But make sure that you don’t get so
absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations
that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is
about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing!
God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we
first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these
precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and
dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed
and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last
minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about! (Romans 13:10-14,
MSG)

Followers of Jesus are prodded to get up, remember the shower of God’s grace
we have received, put on Jesus as surely as we put on our clothes, and love
God and others all day long. That’s our gracious wake up call for each day.
We will find rich blessings if we do not ignore it.

Are you awake spiritually? What does it take to stir you from
spiritual slumber? You might benefit from an unstoppable “snooze alarm” that
reminds you repeatedly of remaining awake to God’s presence and the love of
Jesus you have to share with others. Carrying a Bible with your daily
papers, wearing a cross or meaningful symbol of faith, receiving daily Bible
verse or prayer or devotional reminders by e-mail could be your “flying
alarm clock” to rouse you to more active living of your faith. Just as
everyone has to discover what kind of alarm clock will get them out of bed
in the morning, you have to find what works to get you up and going to live
in partnership with God each day.

Wake up! Your faithful life with Christ is waiting for your
active involvement.

– J. Edward Culpepper
J. Edward Culpepper, Ph.D.
Huntsville, Alabama

Visit my weekly devotional blog, “Blind Faith,” at:
http://blindfaith.fbchsv2.org/