I wrote this back in November of 2002 so today we’re coming at you from the archives:
Wednesday, November 06, 2002
It is my custom to treat myself to a sit-down lunch on Fridays. After a week of hurried eating at my desk, I take a more casual pace – usually sitting in a booth somewhere stuffing bulletins or in the case of today, writing my newsletter article. It’s sort of a reward for making it through another week, and it’s a much more comfortable place to sit and do the rather mundane task of bulletin-stuffing. As I’m writing this, I’m feasting on some hot bread just out of the oven at the LongHorn Steakhouse – and it feels good to eat something warm. Before I left the office, it had grown unbearably stuffy, and so I turned on the air conditioner. And when eleven o’clock came, I hustled down the steps, out to the car, dodging the bitterly cold raindrops that seemed to pierce my being with their iciness. I was freezing, and it was then that I discovered that the heater in my car doesn’t work. This time my quest for comfort failed miserably.
I spend a lot of time trying to be comfortable. My CG&E bills in the summer are ridiculously high for a single guy – but I hate coming home to a hot apartment. There’s nothing I relish more than going home after a long day, plopping down in my recently purchased Wal-Mart brand leather recliner and watching syndicated sitcoms until I snore the evening away. And I usually light several scented candles, since the people who live next door have a penchant for cooking the worst smelling seafood in the history of mankind. Even if I liked seafood, I don’t think I would relish that smell.
I want my Christian walk to be comfortable, too. When I started college, I thought I wanted to be a youth minister. A few weeks at camp cured me of that desire, though, and I settled in on doing counseling. I want to help people – to comfort them in their darkest times – but already in my brief career, I’ve run into some uncomfortable situations. But it’s those situations that often have the most rewarding and satisfying payoff.
God hasn’t called us to be comfortable. In the book of Jonah, we learn of the prophet who ran from God’s direct order to go and preach to a people who needed to repent of their wickedness. Jonah refused to go to the city of Nineveh, because it wasn’t going to be a comfortable revival. The people there weren’t exactly going to turn out in droves at the stadium to hear his message. So, he ran. But God caught up with him, and introduced Jonah to a big fish that swallowed him whole until he decided to get follow God’s call. It was a success; after Jonah’s prophesying, the people did turn from their sinful ways and God spared their land.
How many of us are running from God’s call? How many of us don’t do ministry because it’s not comfortable for us? How many of us sit in our spiritual recliner, snoozing while God’s work is neglected? Sometime this month, find something that you can do to help someone else that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable. I think you’ll find the reward is more fulfilling than you might imagine. Just ask Jonah – but like me, don’t offer him any seafood. Neither one of us is ready to step out of our comfort zones THAT far.