Leader to Leader, Outreach

The Ugly Truth About Our Comfort Oriented Culture

August 4, 2016 | Posted by Randy Raasch

We live in a comfort oriented culture. We choose furniture based as much on comfort as style. Car salesmen emphasize a comfortable ride. Whether we are dressing for a casual picnic or a formal dinner, we think about comfort. If our occupation requires us to be on our feet we want comfortable shoes. If our occupation puts us at a desk we want a comfortable chair.

Comfort is good, but sometimes comfort can be the enemy, especially for those who have leadership positions. When our bills are paid each month; when the pews are occupied each week; when the classrooms are filled each semester it is easy to become comfortable to the point of complacency. How easy it is for us to forget the lost when we become comfortable. The vision isn’t comfort. The vision is mission—seeking the lost with the Good News of life eternal through Jesus.

In John, chapter 6, we find a very large crowd following Jesus. There were 5,000 men and their families. Jesus feeds the hungry throng through the miracle of the five loaves and two fish. Not only are these people fed, but there are leftovers. Imagine the impact that this Jesus makes on the people as He heals their sick and feeds the hungry. They begin to see a comfortable life ahead if they can keep Jesus for themselves.

Imagine the temptation for Jesus. How comfortable it would have been for Him to simply stay put in that area and use His miraculous powers to provide free healthcare and unlimited food. He wouldn’t have to worry about fiery Pharisees, sarcastic Sadducees or an execution by crucifixion. But Jesus never couched His vision around comfort. John 6:15 reads, “Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”

When Jesus healed the sick of Capernaum and found the favor of the people, Jesus responded by saying to His disciples, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came.” (Mark 1:38). Jesus came to “seek and save the Lost” (Luke 19:10) even though that was not the most comfortable route.

We are called to seek and save the lost, knowing that this mission will not always be comfortable. There will be the temptation to seek comfort rather than the lost. Like Jesus, we will be confronted by those outside the church and those within the church. There are challenges in moving our ministry to a greater degree of mission, but that’s why we exist. So we simply deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus.

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AUTHOR
Randy Raasch
Randy Raasch has served as pastor of First Immanuel Lutheran Church of Cedarburg, Wisconsin for 27 years. He has been an adjunct professor of theology at Concordia University Wisconsin since 1990. His personal mission statement is, I serve God by serving others.