Rust will ruin a tool ten times quicker than will overuse. And, ironically, rust tends to develop due to underuse. Just leave a tool laying around, exposed to the elements, and it will develop rust. Within a fairly short period of time, left unused and rusty, many a tool will become virtually useless. Regular use, on the other hand, will tend to prevent rust from developing on that same tool. In many cases, a tool will remain useable and effective almost indefinitely, as long as it is kept in continued use and maybe a thin coat of oil is applied to it now and then.
Build a brand new house. Give it to a family that’s too big for that house. Make sure the family has a bunch of kids- hard playing, rough-housing kids! Let that family live in that house indefinitely. Keep up normal maintenance, make a few minor repairs here and there over the years, nothing too major, and that house will continue to serve that family pretty much as long as they choose to live there. Oh, it’ll show some wear and tear, but it’ll still be basically solid.
Build the same brand new house. Just let it set vacant. Don’t let anybody use it for anything. Don’t put any strain on it whatsoever. It won’t be long until that house will be in a state of ruin just from going unused.
Our spiritual lives are the same way. Typically, when someone is first baptized his heart is aglow. He’s fervent about being a Christian. He attends church services and wants to serve his Lord. As long as he’s active, faithful and dedicated, he remains spiritually vital. But let him begin to purposely miss church services, become complacent about his spiritual dedication, be uninvolved in the work and activities of the church, stop praying and studying the Bible, and before long the glow will become almost imperceptible. The hot coals that had once produced bright flames will die down to just embers, and eventually the embers will grow cold.
Just like a tool, when we neglect our spiritual lives sufficiently, our souls get rusty! We get caught up in anything and everything else, and we lose our spiritual vitality (1 Tim. 4:8). We don’t read the Bible. We forget to pray. We stop weighing our actions and inactions against what would be God’s will for our lives. Our neglect develops to the point where we no longer make excuses for not attending church services- we simply no longer think about attending church services. It’s like we just laid aside our spiritual lives, and our souls got rusty. They’re in a state of ruin and in danger of becoming forever worthless.
We need to regularly examine our spiritual condition (1 Cor. 11:28; 2 Cor. 13:5). We need to be open and honest with ourselves. Is there fire in our souls, or is the furnace cold? Are our hearts aflame, or are there just a few smoldering embers left? Does the way we live demonstrate that getting to Heaven is the most important thing in our lives? Do we attend every church service we possibly can? Do we read our Bibles regularly? Do we pray throughout the day every day? Do we look for ways in which we can serve the Lord? Are we active, involved in the work and activities of the church?
We need to search our hearts carefully. If changes need to be made, let’s make them. Let’s stoke the flames. Let’s be spiritually alive, active, vital. For, I fear that Hell will be filled with “Rusty Souls...”
Gary L. Hutchens