On a narrow, winding mountain road in Australia, six vehicles pulled over in a turnout after hearing a fast-moving siren and horn of an emergency vehicle. Had another biker been hit? Did a driver have a smashup with a kangaroo?
As they waited for the vehicle to pass, they discovered that the sounds came not from a machine, but from a bird, the lyrebird.
The lyrebird has an extraordinary ability to reproduce natural and artificial sounds, be they other birds, animals, humans, or mechanical noises like the emergency vehicle on the mountain road.
Not a few lyrebirds inhabit the church.
Some of them mimic the sounds of the world and the latest fads in religion. What is last heard is fodder for this bird.
Or maybe they reproduce the sounds of sanctification and show the outward appearance of holiness, but know nothing of its workings (see 2 Timothy 3:5).
Then there are the lyrebirds who love to sing the Sunday praises, but chime a mulish self-will on Monday.
Whenever the congregational lyrebirds start their mimicry, they often sideline those who are actually headed somewhere in ministry.
The lyrebirds from Down Under are not endangered with extinction. It appears that their human counterparts will not disappear any time soon either.
How to deal with the flashy falseness of the church lyrebirds?
First, let us be the genuine article. The steady example of the faithful is always a landmark for the wavering soul to come back to.
Second, let us share the call of God to follow his pattern in faith, practice, and mission. The Lord doesn’t want us to do something, anything, but his thing.
Third, let us exercise the necessary discipline in the church that God requires. Many congregations are a mess because of a lack of discipline.
Fourth, let us fulfill God’s mission to evangelize. Churches that don’t evangelize have too much time on their hands, too much space to entertain the lyrebirds.
The lyrebirds will always make their noises. But faithful saints won’t let them sideline good works and sound doctrine.