Laboring Lukewarm: Our Biggest Danger?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
448964539 f5e15a55b6 o copy

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

Revelation 3:15-16

My project sounded dangerous, so my friends were alarmed. “You’ll need prayer.” That’s how they put it, each so sure I couldn’t write my next book—on tensions with my Muslim daughter—without putting both of us at risk.

Writing in danger? Was that me? At first I doubted.

Toiling away in my little home office—actually one daughter’s former girly bedroom—hardly seemed risky.

It’s warm and cozy up here. Facing east, the room greets sunshine every hour all morning, my best time to think and pray, work, and write.

Sure, I was writing about Islam and my Muslim-convert daughter—and family tension that resulted. But dangerous work? No way. This assignment felt comfortable.

Not like those reports from Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors about brave Christians who go to risk-filled jobs every day, some enduring beatings, torture, imprisonment, slavery, and more, including death.

And yet these targeted believers don’t denounce Christ. They keep on working. Dangers and all.

Perhaps they know the far greater risk of becoming lukewarm in their faith—of losing their zeal, joy, and hope in the One who conquered death and, despite everything, still gives life.

The lukewarm laborer, instead, sits in her little home office and casually “works” for Christ.

She worries about the best outfit to wear for her next speaking engagement. Or which lipstick color to choose for her author photo. Or which hairstyle to sport. Or what photo to post on Facebook.

Or if she works onsite in an office, the lukewarm laborer frets about office politics. Who got promoted? Who didn’t? Who the boss favors? Who got a raise? And when’s her next pay increase coming?

Laboring lukewarm wasn’t the danger my friends cited when they offered their prayers. But some must have understood: The true danger in working for Christ is never death. It’s indifference.

That’s what the Lord cautioned in Revelation 3:15-16. In a city with a distasteful lukewarm spring, the church had stopped working for Christ, satisfied instead with their wealth and its trappings. Real danger, indeed.

Fearing these and other dangers, I finally sought prayer for my project. I formed a prayer team on Facebook, requesting prayer covering for my daughter, myself, our book, and its message.

Then everything changed.

First, prayer put danger into perspective. I wasn’t releasing a risky book but offering a ministry—for hurting people. If even one family was divided over faith, or any other reason, they needed help and hope.

I needed prayer, therefore, to work brave and bold—but also to understand what Christian martyrs around the world already know: we’re in a battle.

I thought my battle was getting pre-orders for my book or strategizing with my publisher’s publicity team to get attention. In a corporate job, a believer may think she’s battling a prickly co-worker or demanding boss.

Our bigger danger, however, is our potential to labor lukewarm. So cover me, I prayed. Then, finally, the real work could begin.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What is the temperature of the work you do for Christ? If you “labor lukewarm,” how can you turn up the heat? For believers who face physical or material dangers in their work, how can you support their perilous journeys and lives? If the danger to your labor isn’t serving “lukewarm,” what are the risks you face in your work or ministry?

PRAYER: Ignite me, Lord Jesus, with unquenchable passion for your marvelous gifts, grace, and glory—then equip me to share the heat of your power with a hurting world. Amen.