A Sobering Warning
For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. Hebrews 6:7-8
While in treatment for my opioid addiction, it was easy to stay sober. My access to drugs was cut off and I lived in an environment built around recovery. I had a lot of time, money, and effort poured into me, but success wasn’t measured by whether I stayed sober in treatment. Almost everyone does that. Authentic recovery happened when I left treatment, and had the opportunity to relapse, but rather chose to continue working on sobriety. In treatment, I received a lot of help. At some point though, I had to respond. I had to do something, making visible changes in my life. If I’d not made changes, and if I’d have relapsed as soon as I left treatment, then all that effort poured into me would have been wasted.
This is similar to the message of today’s passage, which honestly, is a little frightening. Yesterday’s passage was a scary enough, warning that those who once knew Christ but then deliberately turned away from him, can never come back. Today’s passage may be even more intimidating, as it speaks of the destruction of those who aren’t guilty of intentionally opposing God, but rather, are simply guilty of apathy and inaction.
The metaphor used in the passage is agricultural – that of rain falling on farmland. God has poured out his common blessing on all of us. He’s given us life and he’s given us the opportunity to know a relationship with him. The land that receives the rain – or blessing – appropriately, responds by producing a useful crop. The land that doesn’t respond appropriately produces only thorns and thistles. This land is said to be worthless, and it’s destiny is to be destroyed. This land represents those who don’t necessarily hate God. They maybe even believe in him, claiming faith, but their faith never leads to any authentic change and so, it’s worthless.
The obvious question I must ask myself, is – What do I produce with the blessings God has given me? Do I live my life for God or for myself. Do I live for what is right or for what I want? God has given me much. Now I must respond appropriately, producing fruit. I can believe in God without ever changing my behavior. That’s not real faith though. Authentic faith is belief that produces life-changing action. If I truly believe in God, I’ll follow him, which will radically transform my life.