Asleep in the Wheel

When our kids were younger, they had a pet hamster named Rowdy. We got him one of those fancy plastic hamster mansions with multiple rooms and tunnels. Among other things, this provided the little critter with any number of suitable places to sleep.

So where did Rowdy usually like to nap? In his exercise wheel.

That little bit of irony got me thinking. The writer of Hebrews said that mature Christians are those “who because of practice have their senses trained [exercised, NKJV] to discern good and evil” (5:14). That training comes through several avenues: worship, Bible study, teaching, self-examination. Could it be that some of us are sleeping where we should be exercising?

Sometimes people do actually doze off during a worship assembly or Bible class. More troublesome are folks who are awake, but are so inattentive they may as well be sleeping. Sometimes you can see looks on their faces that vary from mildly distracted to willfully dis­interested. They could be expanding their knowledge, increasing their faith, and strengthening their convictions, but they’re not. Their bo­dies are present, but their minds are elsewhere. That’s the spiritual equivalent of sleeping in the exercise wheel.

Sometimes we overlook great opportunities for spiritual growth because we’re busy and distracted. And so we miss out on a gospel meeting or a special Bible study. We pass up a chance to speak out in a spiritual discussion at the office, or to teach a friend about Jesus. We get an opportunity to build our spiritual muscles, and we let it go by. We’re asleep in the wheel.

If we’re going to be spiritually fit, we have to wake up and exer­cise our senses. “For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:14-16).