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The High Cost of Nothing

I would like to talk to you about nothing. You might say that’s what I always do, but I would insist that nothing could be further from the truth.

Sometimes, you hear people (especially us older folk) complain, “Everything is so expensive these days!” I’d like to suggest instead that it’s nothing that is far too expensive.

Am I confusing you yet? Nothing new about that. Allow me to explain.

Jesus told several parables about the high price of nothing. There was a rich man in front of whose house lay a beggar named Lazarus. The rich man did nothing to cause the beggar’s poverty. He did nothing to worsen Lazarus’ suffering. As far as we know, he did nothing wrong to Lazarus, or anyone else. He just did nothing. And Jesus said, “The rich man also died and was buried” and landed “in hell” (Luke 16:22-23). What did he do to deserve hell? Nothing! That’s all it takes.

Again, Jesus described a coming day of judgment when people will be separated like sheep from goats. The criterion by which we will be judged is whether, upon encountering people in need, we respond by doing something for them or by doing nothing. What is the cost of doing nothing? “They will go away to eternal punishment,” Jesus declares (Matthew 25:46).

In still another parable, a servant is harshly criticized and thrown “outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30). What was his horrible mistake? Being afraid of messing up, he did nothing with the opportunity given to him. He risked nothing and produced nothing. Nothing cost him everything!

Do you see what I’m saying about the high cost of doing nothing? It’s not enough to say, “I didn’t do anything wrong.” We must also be doing something right. And, that’s true in almost every area of life.

Try doing nothing on your job. You may avoid mistakes, but you won’t likely keep your job. Or take that approach to marriage – just avoid doing anything wrong – and see if the relationship flourishes. Do nothing to your house; don’t damage it, but also don’t maintain it, and see how well it holds up. It’s also true of your physical health; Do nothing and it declines.

The same is true of your spiritual health. You must do something. The cost of nothing is just too high!


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