“To take something for granted is to begin to lose it!”
I never will forget when I first heard that statement. I was 19 years old, and Wallace Roark, my professor at Howard Payne University, said it to our entire class.
He went on to defend his premise, and the more I listened the more I knew he was right. If we take any part of our lives, any person in our lives, any situation in our lives for granted, then we are in the beginning stages of losing something or someone.
Let me offer some examples, and I will begin with a simple one—the simple wooden, picket fence that may surround your back yard. Do you see it in your mind? It’s a nice fence—new, precise, clean, neat. It won’t need attention for years. So, you forget about it. The truth is you take it for granted. So, you don’t see in its second winter several nails begin to loosen in the pickets. You don’t notice in its third summer the Texas sun has begun to warp the untreated boards. You’re not aware of the wood ants that eat away out by the shed. You see, you take it for granted, and you begin to lose it. Soon, that fence will be gone.
Consider another example. This one is quite a bit more serious. This time it is your church. This congregation has been a part of your life as long as you can remember. The building has dominated the corner of 15th and Main your entire life. The church is strong, dynamic, financially stable and gospel strong. So, you don’t really get involved or take on any responsibility. (After all, you’re not really needed with all the people down there!) The truth is you take it for granted. So, you don’t notice an entire generation of leaders has passed on to be with the Lord. You don’t see the pastor and staff struggling to carry the load themselves in the absence of involvement. You’re not aware of baptism numbers that decline year after year. You see, you take it for granted, and you begin to lose it. Soon, that church will be gone.
And now, the final example. This one is the most critical of all—your personal relationship with God. You begin following Jesus when you’re just a child. Your parents have you in church every time the doors are open. You fall in love with Jesus, and as a teen and young adult you are dynamic, on-fire, winsome and Spirit-filled. This faithful disciple is going to go the distance, so you sit back and put it on cruise control. The truth is you take it for granted. So, you don’t see that you really no longer read God’s word. You’re not really vigilant in guarding your heart and mind against un-Godly input you allow into your life. You’re not aware that sin and disobedience have become your norm. You see, you take it for granted, and you begin to lose it. Soon, that devoted walk with God will be gone.
Texas Baptist family, the principle is true for every area of life—our fence, our car, our health, our church, our convention or our relationship with the Lord. So, be vigilant. Be concerned. Don’t take anything for granted, or you will begin to lose it!
Danny Reeves is president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and pastor of First Baptist Church in Corsicana.