A man pushed a wheel barrow across a wire stretched over Niagara Falls. The crowds cheered his daring stunt. After he came back across the wire, he stopped to talk to his audience and asked them one after another, “Do you believe that I can do that again?”
Most of them said, “Of course... you did it so easily already.”
But when the daredevil asked his next question, “Would you ride in the wheel barrow the next time?” all the “believers” suddenly lost their faith.
Did they even really believe in the first place? Perhaps in a general way. As long as the faith they had did not personally involve them, they were sure that he could do it; but when he asked them to prove that they really believed in him - enough to commit their life to him - no one did.
A great many people, some even professing Christians, have this kind of faith. There is a general belief that Jesus Christ lived, died, rose from the dead, and is able to save people from sin... period.
This is a Sunday-religion; it gives a certain amount of space and time to the external matters, and returns a certain amount of respectability. Any twinge of conscience toward God or concerning sin, and the answer comes easily, “Oh, but I go to church every Sunday” or “Of course I believe in God.” Jesus was followed by many with this “faith”. (See John 6:22-66) They eagerly crowded around Him, enjoying His miracles - especially when they were fed as a result. Eventually Jesus asked for a deeper commitment. He told them they needed to put their trust in Him. He asked them to partake of Him (not just His blessings), and said that He was “the bread of life”; anyone who would “eat this bread” would live forever. At that point, “many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him.”
Sad to say, most people these days who dally in Christianity (but never trust their life to Christ) are seldom confronted concerning the depth of their commitment. Many well-meaning Christians are afraid to use spiritual discernment in such cases lest they become guilty of “judging” others.
But Paul warns genuine Christians about this kind of pretense. He says these people may “have a form of godliness” but they “deny the power of God” and are not to be welcomed but shunned (2 Timothy 3:5). Because they walk with only one foot in the wheel barrow, the religious lukewarm often block the sincere efforts of others who want to trust Christ but stumble over such obvious hypocrisy.
Besides that, these who only stand and watch need to realize how important it is to “get in the wheelbarrow.” Jesus Christ is the only One who can take them across this temporary life to everlasting life with the Father on the other side.