Have you ever thought of your comfort as a prison? The more we have the harder it is to escape.
This one chose comfort
Throughout Scripture, Jesus called men and women to give up everything and follow him. In Matthew 19:16-23 there is a young man who asks, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to obtain eternal life?” Jesus answers with a laundry list of dos and don’ts ending with to love his neighbor. The man replies that he has done all of this so Jesus says, great then give everything you own to the poor and follow me. “But when the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he was very rich.” (paraphrased from Matthew 19:16-23 NET)
This man chose the prison of comfort over following the one who could provide him with EVERYTHING he was asking for.
This one chose the uncomfortable
Have you heard the story of Ruth? She was married to a young man who died along with his brother and his father. Her mother-in-law decided to return to her hometown and rely on the mercy of extended family she hadn’t seen in years to survive.
Ruth chose to go with her. She chose the uncomfortable. She chose to give up what she knew and follow her mother-in-law. She gave up the small comfort of familiarity for the unknown. And God blessed her for it.
Because of Ruth’s faithfulness to step outside of the comfortable, she would become one of five women listed in the genealogy of Christ.
Comfort Traps Us
The more we have, the harder it becomes to give it up. The more comfortable we are, the less we want to push boundaries.
Think of a time in your life when you were uncomfortable and desired something above all else. Perhaps it was following a medical diagnosis, a lost job, a relationship that was ending. How much were you willing to give up to obtain health, to keep the job, to restore the relationship?
Comfort traps us in a prison of complicity. There is great injustice going on in our world but the idea that “me and mine are well” can lead us to inaction.
What was the difference between the rich young man and Ruth? The young man couldn’t let go of his own comfort while Ruth was focused on her mother-in-law’s comfort. The difference was in loving one’s neighbor rather than focusing on self.
The Bible tells us over and over again to love our neighbors but over and over again we become complicit and apathetic, hiding in our own homes, enjoying our overstuffed couches and big screen televisions while the world around us is suffering.
Church. Where are you? Let Jesus shake you from your prison of comfort. Go out and meet your neighbors. Discover their needs and serve them as Christ has called us to.