"God comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable."
Our church is seeking an associate pastor. We've brought in two wonderful, godly candidates, and the search committee meets tonight to prayerfully select one to hire. We've had several lively discussions about the strengths and weaknesses of each - not easy to determine, since the "weekend blast" visit format is a pretty artificial situation.
Each candidate has many outstanding qualities, and we definitely need the Spirit of God to clearly show us the best choice. But I've been thinking about one quality that keeps being mentioned that is not (in my view) a good reason to hire someone...the "comfortable" quality. As in "I feel very comfortable with this person," or "He's a great fit for our church family."
The more I think about this, the more I wonder....when did comfort level become a good reason to hire someone? As near as I can tell, it's not a good reason to pursue ANYTHING within the Christian life.
God has not called us to be comfortable. The Bible is not a book of stories about how God soothed His people with familiar situations or clear answers or the status quo. It's the history of a people who were called to be set apart, different from the rest, relying on God for directions. If you think about it, it's a book about God messing with the status quo, taking us out of our comfort zones.
The Lord doesn't call us to sit or lounge or stay or settle in. He calls us to GO. Leave the land where you know everyone and everything, where you are popular and accepted. Follow Him to the land where you're surrounded with the unknown, with people you don't know, with stories you haven't heard. Where you must rely on Him, and only on Him, for wisdom and direction. Only then will you experience the greatness, the security, the overwhelming power and love of God.
Jesus certainly didn't concern Himself with the status quo. He made people very uncomfortable. Very important people, like the top religious authorities. That's how He wound up on a cross. Oh, God's sovereign will and mighty grace brought him there, definitely. But the Pharisees didn't kill Him because of His popularity, but because they didn't like Him. He didn't fit in with the ones in charge.
We serve an exciting God - a dangerous, loving God who will stretch and grow us - not a comfortable God. It reminds me of a favorite quote from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe:
Mr. Tumnus: [of Aslan] He's not a tame lion.
Lucy Pevensie: No... but he is good.
My prayer is that we never get too comfortable in our walk with Christ.
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