Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. (Psalms 142:4)
After 35+ years in and around the "church" world, more than 30 years as an "ordained minister" and missionary, this is my conclusion: No man cares....
(Let's get through this now--All generalities are false, including this one. Sure, there is a man here and there who cares. I like to include myself in that cadre of "exceptions to the rule" So, "no man cares" is hyperbole, but barely)
Examples of this non-caring abound. I'll give just a few, then move on to the conclusions I am drawing. First, a couple I know have in the past year been moved by God to take the Gospel to the streets by going among the homeless, the street people of their area. They provide food, clothing, kindness, counsel, company, and the love of Christ to the scorned, the shunned, the dregs, the hopeless. For their actions, their Biblically-sound church, well...."here's a nice pat on the back"..........and from the social activists, it's "well, thanks for the food, but lay off all that Gospel stuff; you're doing more harm than good"
I was in a big, prominent church at one time, and in the early days used to ask stuff like: How about the jail ministry?......how about the nursing homes?.....how about street ministry?.......soup kitchen?......shelters? All this was met with responses like "Well, old Charlie used to go to the jail, but...." or "I think Betty goes to some nursing home, sometimes...." and then we went on to discuss the B I G "mission programs" where we sent several missionaries to foreign lands and at one time headquartered a large international mission operation. But those people right down the street, and in the state prison down the road, ........no one cares.
I worked in prison ministry for several years. Almost every prison has a Chaplain, a paid staff position pretty high up on the food chain. One big state prison in the South had 5 or 6 full time chaplains and a Head Chaplain. Most of these folks are nothing but bureaucrats. I can think of one exception but most of them do not care. It's a job, and a remunerative one; they're not going to rock the boat just because some private prison-for-profit (which profit pays their wages) is giving inmates substandard food, shocking medical inattention, poorly trained officers, and virtually no security. They don't care.
Local churches are pastored by men who don't care. They'll be there Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. It's their job. Let some stranger come by and they will probably get a follow-up call or visit...once. Let someone attend for several years, then drift away. They'll get a call after a week or two....but soon be forgotten. "Well, it's up to them....we're here if they need us" What do these men feed their flocks? Mostly regurgitated sermons gleaned from books of the "Preacher X's Greatest Sermons".....one hour reading and you've got a nice little 3-points- and- a- poem and can spend the rest of the week at the golf course....unless some idiot member goes to the hospital. Congregations are starving for the Word (at least those members who are regenerated)...but these "shepherds" do not have the inclination or ability to feed the sheep. They do not care.
There are thousands of "missionaries" who do not care. Oh! How can you say that? Look at what passes for "missions"--all these 10-day trips to Costa Rica or some other tropical paradise where an afternoon or two is dedicated to a "prayer walk" or tract-passing in a market place, and the rest of the time is sight-seeing tourism passed off as mission work. Look at the comparatively wealthy American missionaries in third world countries--they live in relative luxury, employ household servants, sent their children back to the US for schooling, and take extended leaves as often as possible. Oh, yeah, on the mission field, but make it just like the USA as best you can....all the creature comforts. (For the record, I know some real missionaries....on the field for 20 years, has become a citizen of the nation he ministers to, his children schooled there and in the compulsory military service there, works there, his heart is there, not longing to be "home in the USA")
So, what kind of "church" demonstrates that it does not care, does not care for your soul, does not love the brethren? This is the prevailing church, this is the most visible church, this is the church of the news media and the general population in the Western world, that church that people go to ....when you ask "Do you know Christ? are you saved?" and they respond "I go to church".....This is their church. This is Satan's Church.
Satan is the Great Counterfeiter, the Great Imitator. He knows Christ has a Church, so he wants a church. This has always been the case but historically, men have identified Satan's Church as the obviously anti-Biblical, pseudo-Christian, obvious examples: Rome at its worst, the other cults, the wackos who take Christ's name in vain, all the exaggerated cases. But, Satan is not stupid. To counterfeit $100 bills, he would not put George Washington's portrait on the effort. His modern-day effort is a pretty successful work. It has all the trappings--formality, social respectability, educated preachers, even espouses pretty sound Bible doctrine. It looks like a duck and it talks like a duck!
But, does it walk like a duck? You have to watch it very closely....And when you do, you'll find that it does not care. It's an act. It's a facade. Scratch beneath the surface and you draw no blood because there's no heart. No heart for souls, no love of the brethren. It's a business, it's a complex organizational structure with a big budget and a big name, but it's heart-less. And it's been built up to this enormous extent we see in 2012 by years of shallow preaching, Gospel-less "conversions" of the "repeat this prayer" type, and the resulting product is a church building where the pews are populated with unregenerated souls and even pulpits are filled by unsaved men, highly educated, articulate, efficient, Christless men.
Christ's disciples emulate Him. Hold up your congregants to that standard. "If any man loves the world, the love of God is not in him."....or that one. "A man who does not love his brother cannot love God"......or that one. Within this visible, miserable "church" certainly there are those who are His, but they are few and far between. "Few there be who find it...." weighs heavily on me these days.......few there be. "Many" however will be heard in That Day crying about all they did "in His name".....when in fact, they did not care.