4:33 PM

Comfort Christianity by Brad E

vv 16-22

We are Christians of comfort. We enjoy supporting those who would dedicate their lives to the ministry of others, but we ourselves fear becoming too involved lest we step outside the boundaries of comfort. Whatever dictates our boundaries, we each have our own reasons for them. Ease of lifestyle, financial security, safety—these are some of my own, selfish boundaries that I place before what I perceive to be the daunting task of ministry. Jesus’ disciples surely had boundaries of their own. Jesus, however, does not address these boundaries before he orders the disciples into full time ministry. Jesus only addresses the disciples’ boundaries after ordering them to begin their work amongst their people. This past summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to work with a missionary family from my home church for several weeks in Nepal. During our last week in Nepal, a radical group of another religion gave an ultimatum to foreign Christians working in the country: “Leave or be killed.” We talked with our missionary friends about this message and how they would respond to it. Without hesitation, our friends told us that they would remain in Nepal. To them, safety is a comfort. It is a desired comfort, but it is not a necessity for ministry. Jesus never promised safety in ministry but quite the opposite. We are sheep amidst the wolves. Whether we serve as missionaries in foreign lands or at a church in downtown Durham—safety remains only a comfort. Safety from failure, safety from persecution, safety from the unknown—these are all comforts that the first disciples were told to do without, and these are comforts that we must remember are only comforts and not predicates of ministry.

Comment (1)

Good post, B. What about safety from terrorists and armies? Is that a comfort rather than a predicate of Christian discipleship? I think it is, but it's easier to think of comfort in terms of less systematic threats, e.g., persecution of particular persons, personal failure. Then we find ourselves saying, as many Christians do today, "Jesus commanded us as isolated persons to be ready to suffer, but he's happy for us to be violent if we do it together. Jesus didn't promise us safety, but he wants us to kill in order to stay safe."

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