"Woe to those who are at ease in Zion." (Amos 6:1)

One Saturday, the pastor was having trouble with his sermon and decided to go for a drive in the country to clear his mind. Soon he came upon a scene unlike anything he had ever seen. Fire trucks and emergency vehicles were everywhere and crowds were blocking the streets. He pulled his car over to the side and got out. Down the block, a large house was burning down, and everyone was working to rescue the people inside and extinguish the blaze.

Later, when the pastor drove home, he knew he had found exactly what his sermon needed for the next day. Sunday morning at church, he preached the sermon God had given him. Toward the end, he told about driving through the country and coming upon this great old house, of the trucks everywhere and the crowds blocking the street, the frantic activities and the ambulances. To his surprise, the congregation sat there impassively, completely unaffected by his story.

On the way home, the pastor expressed his disappointment to his wife. "The congregation didn't react at all the way I thought they would," he said. "I really thought hearing about that burning house and all would have affected them."

His wife was quiet a moment, then she said, "Well, honey, it might have. And it should have, but for one thing. You forgot to tell them the house was on fire."

Someone needs to tell God's children today that the house is on fire. It's time for us to get up off the couch and get busy.

Dr. Joe McKeever is a Preacher, Cartoonist, and the Director of Missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans. Visit him at joemckeever.com/mtUsed with permission

Original publication date: October 5, 2009