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  • Writer's pictureMichael Gott


I know only one of two quotes from all of the works of Shakespeare—I do not read him nor really understand his language most of the time. It’s just not important that I do! Yet, read on, please!

For, there is a choice statement from one of his best works that I love to quote. It’s short and simple. It goes like this: “Come, gentlemen, we sit too long on trifles”—now, that, I understand! For I have been in enough churches to have wanted to quote Shakespeare thousands of times. For too many churches have an outstanding ability to sit on trifles! And once “trifle sitting” becomes the accepted norm, it is a habit, an enjoyable habit. Months can go by, even years, with little or nothing happening and nobody speaks out and the people on the street will allow us to go on with it endlessly and offer people just trifles!

But, watch out. When someone comes who is of an enthusiastic spirit and starts to question or disturb the status quo, then resentment starts to be aroused—sadly not the church, just the resentment within the church for those obnoxious enthusiasts! John the Baptist did not last long saying, “Make the crooked ways straight!” He didn’t win friends calling the religious establishment a “pit of snakes” and preaching repentance. And Jesus, “blind guides leading the blind” and white graves with death inside. All this He said! And what do we see? — The sharpening of knives. “These type people must be stopped soon.”

We have Jerome, back in history wistfully saying, “I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. I love to keep it by me: the idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart.” Some would say, “My kind of man.” There are a few things beyond that attitude, that prioritize and see the reality. Surprisingly, even Karl Marx did briefly. He once commented, “original sin is everywhere at work.” Yes, it is, and when we continually have a terrible predicament such as sin at work like we see in the world now, it requires a drastic solution.

We need someone to repeat Genesis 4:7 to us, “… sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” But Cain didn’t; he was unable to conquer sin so it conquered him, and in time, he killed his own brother. This has two effects: it causes some to remain people of the trivial and others to become people of violent acts—like Cain. And from that early hour in human history onward, generations after generation we find examples of man mastered by sin. The Old Testament is full of it. And to help us all, God purposely raised up mighty prophets who made sure it was fully pointed out. This rare breed of men, were not men of speculation but of keen observation. They saw it for what it was—and pointed out the effects of sin spreading from one person to an entire society, and their solution was simple and stark—repent! God, they said, “hates sin and He can do one of two things with it—forgive it or judge it. You decide!”

And now, we face the fact that some people can always find good reasons for remaining unmoved—remaining the same and just doing nothing, sitting long on trifles. Just neutralized by it all, indifferent related to God.

Or, just as we said and we have repeated, sitting too long focusing on trifles. As long as we do not realize God seriously means business, we will keep sitting. Faith never is aroused in us until we realize God always has the ability to do what He said He would do, so He stirs our hearts to cause immediate action. But once this is seriously believed, responding to the call of Jesus is not something dull, lifeless, or just religious in nature; it is life or death, heaven or hell!

Ultimately, this all leads us to see the evangelizing nature of God—wanting to first stir us and then save us. God then comes as the Savior, loving the sinner who doesn’t deserve to be loved. Holy yet redemptive, righteous but merciful. That is the story behind the story of the entire Bible. Back off and see it unfold and find your place in it.

And if we are going to be called people who know God and people whose natures have been changed by God, that must be our spirit too! Not people sitting too long on the trivialities of life—but seeking to save the lost with hearts aflame.

Jeremiah asks a dramatic question—“is there no healing for the wound of my people?” (Jeremiah 8:22) And, humanly speaking, Jeremiah, once again speaking for God, said, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing.” (Jeremiah 30:12) That’s true humanly speaking—so we need the touch of God on us—His power unleashed!

And Jesus steps in to say, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners …” Hosea said, “He will heal us.” How? Yes, how?

Well, hear the Word of the Lord—“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh … I will save you from all your uncleanness …” (Ezekiel 36:26, 29, NIV) That’s redemption.

And that—is what is vital and so very important!

So then, do we dare to “sit too long on trifles”? We need a final strong word, and I believe Spurgeon has it in one short sentence. Please, if you will, repeat it out loud for emphasis and impact:

“Everything is a trifle to a man who is a Christian except the glorifying of Christ.” C. H. Spurgeon

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