In our Western culture, it seems that being comfortable is of utmost importance to us. Just watch TV commercials. Many of them are working to convince us that we need some kind of product in order to make our lives a bit more “comfortable” or “easy.”
This is particularly true when it comes to commercials about technology. I find the new Samsung Galaxy commercial especially interesting. The bottom line of the commercial is that Samsung’s tablet can do what no one else’s can. Need to do two things at once? Samsung makes it happen. Need more pixels? Samsung has it! Need better apps? Samsung has them. Apparently, Samsung makes life much easier and enjoyable.
Now, I’m not against Samsung or any technology for that matter. I enjoy technology and use it daily if not hourly. I’m glad for what it provides and the many ways it makes it easier to be productive.
And I’m also not against comfort per se. I enjoy and am thankful for the conveniences that I have. However, I do think that we need to be careful not to make personal ease our chief end. I realize this can be somewhat difficult for us as our culture does a pretty good job of discipling us in pursuing that which brings the most comfort.
We are seeing more and more people today who are moving to churches “where they feel more comfortable.” When did comfort become such a high value in ministry and church life? Was it when we left the path of biblical Christianity? The gospel is too radical and the needs of the world too urgent for us to ever be comfortable! But many Christians today have come to think that a major goal of the church is to entertain people and supply them with services that they want, such as a good youth program or music program. In such an environment, we are going to see people moving to churches where they are comfortable. The result will be that churches are going to miss out on some vital sources of enrichment through discomfort. They will become unhealthy by missing out on biblical wholeness. Biblical churches always are uncomfortable places because they are always looking for biblical wholeness.
No doubt these are some fairly stern words. In reading them it might help to know that Fernando has a different ministry context than those of us in the West. Fernando has worked with Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka for over 35 years and as a result, has witnessed and experienced much discomfort during his ministry.
Sacrifice is a key component in the Christian life. It is the way of the cross. Following Christ and staying committed to one another in a local church is not always comfortable or easy. At times it can be quite a struggle.
But according to Fernando, if we are going to develop “Biblical wholeness,” which I will have to say leads to ultimate joy, then the sacrifice of personal comfort will have to be part of the journey.