The Chicago Tribune ran a story a while back that caught my attention. A man named
Russell Edward Herman died at the age of 67 and in his will he left trillions of dollars to
thousands of people he’d never met. Here is a summary of some of what he bequeathed:
• $1.5 Billion for “projects” in southeastern Illinois
• $6 Trillion to the Federal Reserve Board to pay off the National Debt.
• $6 Trillion to the U. S. Treasury to get the country back on track.
• $2.41 Billion for national forests
• $2.41 Billion to the Ohio River Town of Cave-In Rock
• $189 Trillion for the “rehabilitation of states’ rights”
• $1 Million in American Gold Dollars to each person who has lived in Gallatin County for
at least 10 years.
What was the catch?
Russell Edward Herman didn’t have trillions of dollars. He was just a simple, poor carpenter.
While the will of the late Russell Herman never paid off for his “beneficiaries,” it certainly
enlivened conversations. Russell Edward Herman had great intentions, but he lacked the
resources needed to make them a reality. 1
His will as a legal document, it had the right title, was filed correctly, but it did not perform
as expected. It was ineffective!
What is ineffective?
not producing an intended effect; not capable of performing efficiently or as
Like the will, Christians can also be ineffective. Let us consider five habits of ineffective
Christians. These five habits in no way exhaust the many ways to become ineffective in the
Christian life. There are countless ways to be ineffective.
1. BE A CHAMELEON
What is a chameleon?
lizards characterized by the ability to change the color of their skin, very slow
locomotion, and a projectile tongue; also, a changeable, fickle, or inconstant
To be ineffective you must blend in! Forget all that talk about “being set apart” or “being a
city on a hill”—the name of the game is BLEND BABY! BLEND! Forget about being “the light
of the world” or the “salt of the earth.” It’s easier to blend in with the darkness than to be a
light. It’s easier and far more ineffective to be salt-less—tasteless and unappetizing as the
world—that way we don’t have the impact we are supposed to have as Christians.
And like a good chameleon—USE THAT TONGUE! Your tongue is a weapon—catch and
destroy! Start the fires! Spread the rumors! Gossip like it’s going out of style! That way
nobody will ever want to be a Christian like you.
2. BE SELF-CENTERED
To live as ineffectively as possible, put yourself at the center of your life. Make it all about
‘Me and my needs’. This must always be paramount. You must never consider anything in
any way other than how it will affect ‘Me and my needs’.
Living a dynamic Christian life would of course, have God at the center circle. I would just be
a servant of His will, not mine. You, however, must have your own circle, keep God’s to the
side and make sure the spheres converge as little as possible. Preferably only on Sunday
mornings or in emergency situations.
Just as important, keep ‘Others’ outside your circle. The farther away you keep them, the
more ineffective you will be. True love demands selfless care and concern for others and
that is way too effective.
Don’t you dare consider the parable of the Good Samaritan, which shows us the
implications of loving your neighbor. It involves great risk, great cost, great sacrifice. None
of which are compatible with the circle of ineffectiveness.
This passage of scripture must be avoided at all costs if one is to be a highly ineffective
Christian. It demands that you place God and others where you and your needs should be.
Furthermore, If we are to totally fail at the Great Commission we need to abandon
ourselves to the great omission. YOU MUST NOT deny yourselves. If you do, who is going to
occupy the center circle.
If we are to be a highly ineffective Christian we need to assume God’s place as king in our
lives. And by the way, THROW AWAY YOUR I AM SECOND BRACELET!
3. BE SPIRITUALLY SHALLOW
One of the biggest dangers for the Christian who is seeking to be highly ineffective is the
Word of God. The Bible is a very dangerous book. In order that you remain highly
ineffective it is a good idea to avoid it. Reading it has been shown to change people and
that’s way too effective.
Equally important to assure you are an ineffective Christian is to redefine God. We need to
stop seeing God as a personal God and see him as object, see him for what function he
serves for us. To be ineffective in our Christian life we must think of God as an ATM or an
awesome vending machine. By doing so you can pretend to use God, to push the right
heavenly buttons so that he will come deliver whatever we want or need. In doing so we
make God an object, someone we can use.
Finally, stay away from prayer! You cannot be ineffective if you pray. Prayer makes things
happen and that is exactly what you don’t want.
Remember, to be spiritually shallow you must avoid the Bible and Prayer and you must
treat God as a cosmic vending machine—not as your heavenly father.
4. BE A WIMP
Wimpishness is a must! What is a wimp?
A fearful, weak or cowardly persons 4
We can overplay the obstacles and underplay the opportunities. In your Christian walk, if
your trying to be ineffective, you need to become a wimp.
Compare the obstacles you need to face with yourself. Remember, becoming a wimp is a
choice. A process. As you progress through the various levels of wimpishness, you will find it
easier to live a limp faith.
You will look throughout the centuries at people who have been jailed, mocked, scorned
and even killed for their belief in God. You have no desire and zero intentions of ending up
like that. You will not want to become a statistic.
Remember, a wise man once said, “look out for number one.”
Do not take chances with your existence. Boldness and courage are overrated! FEAR is the
key ingredient of Wimpishness. Be afraid of anything that might threaten your peace,
comfort, rest, etc.
5. BE MEDIOCRE
What does mediocre mean?
of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate; not
satisfactory; poor; inferior; meager, low-quality, second-rate; so-so. 5
Forget all of that “fight to the finish” “run to win” “be diligent” non-sense! To be really an
awesome ineffective Christian you need some new mottos:
NEVER TRY HARDER!
STRIVE FOR GOOD ENOUGH!
ALWAYS KNOW THE MINIMUM STANDARDS REQUIRED!
GIVE GOD YOUR LEFTOVERS!
EXCELLENCE IS OVER-RATED!
Mediocrity in your Christian life is the only way to have enough time to make yourself a
priority. It’s the only way to keep your Christian walk easy and effortless. Excellence is way
So in conclusion, if you want to be highly ineffective Christian, you must work diligently at
perfecting the 5 Habits of Highly Ineffective Christians: be a Chameleon, be Self-Centered,
be Spiritually Shallow, be a Wimp, and be Mediocre.
Resources: 1 Will Power: Russell Herman Left Trillions Of Dollars He Didn’t Have To Thousands Of People He’d Never Met-and They Want It. June 13, 1995|By Wes Smith, Tribune Staff Writer. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1995-06-13/features/9506130010_1_trillion-cave- national-debt 2 Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ineffective 3 According to Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/browse/chameleon?s=t 4 Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wimp 5 According to Dictionary Online http://www.dictionary.com/browse/mediocre?s=t