A lady named Jacqueline Power said, “A sign on the elevator door in the building where I worked said, ‘This elevator is out of whack.’ Later someone had penciled in, ‘More whack is on order.’ ” Do you ever feel like you’ve “out of whack?” The phrase just means something is not working properly or, as we say with another idiom, “not up to speed.” A big challenge facing every Christian is to not run out of whack! And a big problem is, many do. The apostle Paul addresses the problem in a single little verse of Scripture in Romans 12:11. The verse lays out a simple, clear challenge that has proven difficult for many Christians to consistently practice: “not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” I like the King James Version in this verse – “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” The “business” referred can properly stand for the Lord’s business and / or the business of living the Christian life, in whatever capacity that might be. Elders can, and do, run of whack when they began to take their God-given role as overseers and shepherds lightly, and when they fail to properly and zealously keep watch over God’s flock where they serve. Preachers can run out of whack if they take their eye off of the Christ and the cross and begin to grow discouraged by a lack of visible progress or by sin and setbacks in the lives of people in the congregation where they preach and serve. Deacons can fail to “deke” – that is, they grow lukewarm about the charge they have been given by the congregation to serve and take care of some responsibility in the church. Every member of the church is daily engaged in the good fight of faith and is the target of a relentless foe who never runs out of diabolical whack – the devil – who “walks about as a roaring lion Bible, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Bible class teachers can lose their enthusiasm for the God’s word and get lazy and sloppy in their preparation. In the face of that perpetual possibility, Paul’s words in Romans 12:11 challenge every Christian: “Don’t run out of spiritual whack!”
There are ten words in Romans 12:11 (King James and New King James Versions). In them Paul acknowledges it is easy to get discouraged and dispirited or distracted as we strive to live the Christian life. Like a physical muscle grows tired after long, hard exertion, so we, too, can grow weary while doing good (Galatians 6:9). The danger is not necessarily that we get tired, but that we tire to the point we faint or lose heart and lose all our spiritual whack. Someone observed that you may be on the right track, but you will get run over if you just sit there. That is certainly true of the Christian life. One of the most acute dangers in the spiritual life is that a person is baptized into Christ and is on fire with love and zeal, but then they begin “lagging in diligence.” Like a flame that flickers and burns out, the initial commitment and enthusiasm for Bible reading, worship, and serving cools off to the point we just sit down and cease serving the Lord! A lady named Carol Leifer said, “I’m not into working out. My philosophy: No pain, no pain.” But my friends, we can’t do that as Christians and please God! And we can’t be like Robert Hutchins who said, “Whenever I feel like exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes.” And we can’t be like Jo Bran who commented, “My favorite machine in the gym is the vending machine.” No, my dear friends. The reward we seek is not for those who run out of spiritual whack, for Jesus promised a crown of life to those who are “faithful until death” (Rev.2:10). As a Christian, whatever you do, you must see it through. Don’t run out of whack!