by Dr. Shane Arnold
I love the Star Wars movies. I like them all, but I love the older ones. I admit, though I know how the story ends, I am still a little intimidated when Darth Vader enters the scene.
Perhaps that is why some lines from the famous villain are stuck in my mind. As a
matter of fact, there is one I cannot shake even though years have passed since I first heard it.
The line occurs in the very first Star Wars film. The leaders of the evil empire are
debating their next move. The rebels have stolen the blueprints of a new super battle station, one designed to keep the galaxy in fear with its power to destroy planets with one blast. As they wax eloquently about the power of this new battle station, Darth Vader, with his ominous voice, speaks up. “Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed. The ability to destroy a planet,” he says, “is insignificant to the power of the force.”
One unnamed leader responds in anger, “Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcery’s
ways, Lord Vader, your devotion to this ancient religion has not helped you conjure up those stolen data tapes.” As he says this, Vader moves toward him, and a lump rises in my throat. As this leader continues to speak, Darth Vader raises two fingers and begins to squeeze. Instantly, the once proud man is gasping for air. Men are looking around the room with an uncomfortable squeamishness. Then Vader says it—that one sentence I still dread: “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”
With those words, a chill runs down my spine.
I get a similar chill when I read Revelation 3:14-22. Here Jesus addresses the church at
Laodicea, which is a church that evidently matches its water supply. Laodicea was located between two unique sources of water. One source was warm and soothing. Another was cool and refreshing. But when water was transported to Laodicea the temperature of the water would change, leaving it merely warm. If that were not bad enough, minerals would sometimes settle in the water and would often make people who drank it sick.
Jesus sees in their water supply an analogy to their spiritual condition. He says, “I know
your works: you are neither cold nor hot.” That is, you are neither soothing nor refreshing to those around you. Consequently, he expresses his longing for the lukewarm church. “Would that you were either hot or cold.” That is, I wish you were soothing or refreshing. Then there is the line that sends chills up my spine.
“So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
It is a graphic scene. The phrase “spit you out” denotes a violent action, like that of throwing up when one is sick. Commenting on this passage, Jay Adams writes, “In those words He expressed a very important principle: lack of enthusiasm is sickening. It is revolting and disgusting (How to Help People Change, 97)."
If Adams is right, and I believe he is, what does that mean for our typical worship services? What does that mean for our normal Christian service, our bible studies, and our fellowship? The thought forces me to ask the question: if I am not enthusiastic about Christ—his word and his mission—what am I enthused about? The answer to that may explain a lot, and it may be scarier than we think.