If you could choose between foods such as fried chicken or macaroni and cheese or a salad with a small amount of fat free dressing, which would you pick? If you could pick between vacationing this winter in Fargo, ND or the Florida Keys, what would it be? Suppose it was totally up to you whether to wear dress shoes or go barefoot? What would you wear? The common denominator in the equation is comfort.
Comfort is important to consumers. They pay extra for exit row airplane tickets or the ability to board the plane first. La-Z-Boy recliners and hot tubs attract those who are serious about getting comfortable.
There is nothing wrong with comfort as far as it goes. Why not be comfortable? Jesus said he came to bring life to the full. God wants you to be comfortable unless your comfort hurts someone else. He wants you to be comfortable unless it diminishes life for you over time.
Eat comfort food to often and the risk of stroke, heart attack, and diabetes increase dramatically. Enjoy that recliner in front of the television to the exclusion of physical exercise and just when you are ready to retire and enjoy your golden years your health may be a ball and chain. The lack of muscle mass and tone can assure your inability to walk with your grandchildren through the amusement park or down a forest trail matted with pine needles leading to a lake filled with pristine glacier water.
If personal comfort trumps all, one rarely will know the joy and satisfaction of building a water project to provide clean water in a remote third world village, see the glow of a child’s face when he passes the test due in no small part to your encouraging words and hours of tutoring, or feel the appreciation of the residents of a nursing home each week when you come to lend an ear and share a friendly touch.
Jesus told His closest followers, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” I am pretty sure He saw more severe consequences than most people today who are quick to utter the cliché “We all have our crosses to bear”. Jesus was never known for padding His messages with easy teaching. The number of those choosing to follow the hard path Jesus outlined grew exponentially after His death. Today, it seems the teaching is far more comfortable and those willing to sacrifice their time and talent for the change they see Jesus’ teaching brings to those exhorted by padded messages declining.
Every comfortable part of life is not bad. Nor should difficult times in life always be avoided. What is coming between you and Jesus; comfort or distress? What choices will enhance your relationship with Christ and consequently your life and the world in which you live?