Indifference has to be one of the worst outworkings of a heart. Paul says to the Romans (12:15), “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Should it follow, then, “be indifferent with them that are indifferent”? Because if you’re indifferent and unfeeling and uncaring with anyone at either end of the aforementioned spectrum, it will end in snuffing out the joy and also exacerbating the sorrow.
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15)
Neither confirming nor denying
“And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin.” (Luke 19:20)
Matthew’s gospel relates it thus: “And I was afraid, and went and hid Thy talent in the earth…” (25:25) When you neglect the gifts God gives you, either wrapped in a “napkin” (akin to a handkerchief) or buried in the world, there’s no way it can be multiplied–no way it can do any good for either you or anyone else. The word “idempotent” refers to a mathematical process in which a number is unchanged when multiplied by itself. It’s more complex (and probably simpler) than it sounds. Suffice it to say, I don’t understand it beyond its definition. Here’s the thing: we cannot consume ourselves and expect to thrive. And we cannot consume the beauty and sorrow of our brothers and sisters in Christ without reflecting back the same to them either. Christian community is made up of numerous children of God–male and female alike–who all take their impetus and catalyst from Jesus Christ. Who in turn received it from the source, His Father. The self-actualizing entity is a myth. Everything God does for us is a gift. Something to be tended and guarded–and shared. “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)
All things in moderation
“Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.” (Proverbs 25:16)
All things in moderation? Except for sophrosyne, of course. Same thing. I find that gratitude is the order of the day. That, and simple acknowledgment of God with the petty concerns that make up much of my mind. If I’m only concerned with myself and getting more, I won’t be attuned to God or the things He’s already done. As such, I won’t see what He’s doing in the grand scheme of things. As the beautiful things are gifts, so too, are the struggles. Not because we enjoy them, no. Paul says “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” (2 Corinthians 4:17) Not to downplay what you’re going through, but Paul says it’s naught but “light affliction”. God doesn’t lay on you more than you can handle. Mix in the affliction with the “talents” (a “weight and measure”) you get something that looks like daily life. Don’t worry. As you press in to God, you and your gifts will win out in the end. Provided you haven’t buried them somewhere…
“A man’s (and woman’s) gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” (Proverbs 18:16) Crescendoing in Jesus, the Greatest. When I was younger and going through certain existential struggles, feeling the weight of my circumstances and also my indifference to the whole matter, I would foolishly wish to be cold because I saw it as easier than the other two. Not wise. Incalesce.
God is not indifferent
“And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” (Colossians 2:19)
The suffering in your world and the world and mine grieves His heart. The easy answer of Heaven (i.e. the afterlife) is more than a placebo. But it’s also neither here nor there beyond a certain point. The dryness and dullness (and indifference) we perceive when we look to the sky, is really in our own heart. If you throw in subjectivity and cultural relativism and also the devil and sin, you get a world that balances out quite nicely–on the side of indifference. To level complaints at God and His followers for the sorry state of much of the world does nothing to change His heart. If you’ve ever had a taste of the mighty sweetness and tenderness of “Our Father who art in Heaven”, you won’t settle for anything less. The more we endeavor to run to God (as opposed to standing still or running away), the hotter we’ll be. Consequently, the more our gifts will bring glory to Him. Adiaphorous refers to medicine, or “medicine”, that does nothing, a placebo. And while effects can be produced psychosomatically, it was the patient rather than the prescription. God never does or starts anything without the intent of seeing it through to completion. Hold on and hold out for the best that He has. You can turn this world around. Don’t think for a second that God is indifferent.