It is a wonderful feeling to go to bed at night and not have to set an alarm for tomorrow morning. It doesn’t happen often at our house, but occasionally we release ourselves from the dreaded morning beep. Alarm clocks are unusual things. We program them to ring at a specific time, but often hit the snooze button to delay the inevitable again and again.
The alarm clock is not the only signal that we pay attention to. We are surrounded by many different alarms. There are alarms in our vehicles reminding us to buckle up. We set alarms on our cell phones so we don’t forget important meetings. Alarms at the checkout counter remind us to remove our credit card. Alarms can be annoying, but they are also important. They alert us to what is going on; they grab our attention. In some instances it is sad that we have become so forgetful or oblivious to our surroundings that we need to have an alarm, but think of how many people would be late for work every day without one.
A fire alarm is another important signal. Our facility is wired with a device that will sound a loud alarm and notify the local fire department if it detects smoke or extreme heat. A technician from Midwest Alarm came to the church this week to service our alarm system and make sure it was working properly. He performs numerous tests, checks the sensors, and replaces any failing parts, but before he signs off on the inspection, he must complete one final assessment. He must sound the alarm. Thankfully he does not do this without warning. The technician came to the office and asked if there were other people in the building and how many sets of ear plugs we would need. I declined the ear plugs, but his question got me thinking.
Are there other alarms in my life that have been going off, but rather than get too rattled by them or pay attention, have I used a set of ear plugs to make the signal less offensive? Are there alarms in my life that I perpetually hit the snooze button on? YES! When I hear the tornado sirens at 1:00 on the first Wednesday of the month, I “put my ear plugs in” and keep right on working. When I see the number rising on the scale, I “hit the snooze button” and scoop myself another bowl of ice cream. When I realize my blood pressure is on the rise, I commit to start exercising… next month. When I plan to get up early the next morning to spend time with Jesus, the spirit is willing but the flesh is week.
How about you? Are there alarms that are sounding in your life? Are you acting on them? When the diagnosis comes, do you commit to drawing closer to God only to set the Bible aside when the treatments are done? When a loved one dies, do you think about your own mortality during the funeral service but then whoop it up at the bar that night because you only live once? When you hear a message about the 10 Commandments, do you think about what a good sermon that was rather than committing to make a change? When the Holy Spirit convicts you, do you brush it off and seek approval somewhere else?
What about American Reformed Church, or the Church in general? Are there alarms sounding that we would prefer to ignore or hit the snooze? When good leaders are needed, do we ignore God’s call and prefer to let someone else do it? When expectations aren’t met, do we lower the bar a bit more rather than confronting a problem? When someone draws our attention to problems in our midst, do we chastise them for being too negative.
God gives us some good advice in the book of Revelations about heeding warnings. To the seven churches, He says, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” For more specifics, read Revelations 2 and 3.
May it not be said of God’s Church or God’s People that we ignored the alarms in our own souls, our families, and our Church. Take out the ear plugs and stop hitting the snooze! Do you hear the alarm?