“If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.” 2 Corinthians 1:6
If you have attended the same church for a while, chances are you are pretty comfortable. But has God called us to comfort or to faithfulness?
Moving to a new church is tough—ask anyone who has ever done it. Church is a place where, for the most part, many of us are terribly comfortable. Our friends, family, and Community Groups all come together in the same place once a week to worship. In reality, most of us get to attend a weekly party with the people we love and know best. It is a pretty special thing, and we shouldn’t take it for granted, because Jesus’ mission will often take us out of that comfort.
My comfort was at Mars Hill West Seattle where I have been deeply involved for the last year—it is full of my friends, Christian family, and feels like home. One fateful Sunday morning while sitting in service there, I got the call that my wife and I were now going to be placed in the Downtown Bellevue church to prepare for my role as the lead pastor resident for the future Kirkland church plant. I was being torn out of my comfort and ease to move to a church of 2,000 people, of whom I knew about five. On top of that, I was being asked to develop a core group team to plant a church, build relationships with leaders, and develop a vision for planting Mars Hill Kirkland!
Strangely enough, and as cliché as this may sound, God gave my wife and me peace around the move. It has been hectic and crazy but, we are making friends, developing relationships, and the church of 2,000 doesn’t seem too big anymore.
It has become clearer and clearer to me that I am not a Christian and a part of Jesus’ church for my own comfort and worship experience; I am called to live my life in obedience to my heavenly Father. His purposes are greater than mine, his mission more important, his desires for me purer, and his glory is shown through my obedience to his call. What a marvelous thing to trust that when change happens in my life, it is only allowed through the sovereign hand of God! To quote Charles Spurgeon: “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”
Wherever God takes my wife and me over the remaining years of our lives, what a joy it is to know that, be it pain and sorrow or rejoicing and happiness, his purposes are greater than ours, and we get to rest in God, our Father!
Don’t find your comfort in your surroundings or where you worship, but find it in trusting God. Do not become too comfortable—God’s purposes may shock you out of that comfort into a greater worship of him.