February 21, 2017
Sometimes I think contentment is the number one enemy of faith. I am retired. I have a pension and savings. I live in an old but updated farmhouse with my wife of nearly 47 years. All three of our children live within walking distance of our front door, which means we see our grandkids at least weekly. They all are productive members of society and are raising their children to be faithful Christians. Our health is good. We lack for nothing. Ours is a life many would envy. There is just one problem. When life is like that, where does God fit in? Why do we need God?
I am fully aware that all of our blessings come from him, and I give thanks to him every day for all we enjoy. In the book of Proverbs, the writer makes a pointed observation that turns into a prayer:
"Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, "Who is the LORD?" or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God." Life is more than comfort. Comfort is nice, but we were made for more than this. I am becoming quite uncomfortable with my comfort.
In a conversation with a pastor friend this morning, I mentioned my musings on this subject, to which he replied, "Try leaving a guaranteed job to plant a new church. You'll have all the living by faith you can handle." Or words to that effect. The truth of the matter is that there is an excitement about living by faith that stirs the blood and fires the imagination. Contentment and comfort is nice, and many of us default to it, but there is nothing like a bit of danger to add some spice to life. Winston Churchill once said that there is nothing quite as exhilarating as being shot at and missed. I can imagine he is right on that count.
When Linda and I were young marrieds, we pulled up stakes and moved to Chicago so I could go to seminary. We were poor. Really poor. There is no way we should have made it financially, let alone come out of seminary debt free, but that is what happened. When we were uncomfortable, we saw God do the impossible. That rarely happens when we live in our protected little bubbles.
I have no death wish, nor do I plan to do anything stupid. The fact of the matter is, I am quite adept at stupidity even without planning. But I do long to live on the edge of impossibility so I can be a part of the stuff God delights in doing. What that means for the future, I haven't the foggiest idea, but I'm keeping my eyes and heart open. On that day when I finally stand before the One who created and redeemed me, I want to go through those pearly gates in a full power slide, with shouts of praise to Jesus Christ who took me home on the ride of a lifetime.