What's wrong with being a comfortable Christian?
At face value, absolutely nothing. I hope we are all comfortable in our faith, in our church and how we live out our faith on a daily basis. At the beginning of the year, the Asbury class did a study titled Revival, by Adam Hamilton. It was extremely enlightening and coincidentally came right in the midst of what I believe was the start of a revival in our church. In his book, he touched on the comfort issue.
He asked some challenging questions that he directed primarily towards people who were between 50 to 80+ years old. The questions weren't easy ones and after asking if we were doing various things, he ended with this: "or are you playing it safe and coasting in the second half of your life?" In other words, are you living the comfortable Christian life?
What is that "second half" of our lives? It could be no more kids in the house, or maybe retirement, or even just scaling back your work load at your job. Whatever that "second half" may be to each of us, the question is a challenging one. Are we playing it safe and coasting? Also, are we steering away from the challenges that are presented to us as Christians? Are we taking it easy, because we've earned it, because we've put our time in, or because we've done our share?
John Wesley described a good death as bearing witness to your faith until the very end. In our class discussion during Revival, we talked about why people wouldn't want to see their church change, or be revived. There were many responses, but the one I want to focus on is related to age. Most of those answers referenced being too old, or getting older. The class went on to elaborate about getting older and it became very self-deprecating. Other responses related to age included, I did my share, I don't want to do too much and I'm just tired. I see those same answers being very relative to living the "comfortable Christian life".
Now I'm sure most of you are familiar with the sayings use it or lose it, or don't leave anything on the table.
So I ask those of us in the 50-80+ age group. Why are we resting? We'll have plenty of time to do that, in fact, an eternity. We need to give it everything we have now. We only have so much time and when our time is done, what will we have left behind?
We as a group have so much to offer and yet the world tells us we should be slowing down. Well in some things that might be true, but when it comes to our faith, it's full speed ahead, or at minimum, a rapid shuffling of the feet.
One of the best lessons I ever gave to the teams I coached for years was this one, whether you play 2 minutes, or 22 minutes, make them the best 2 or 22 you can. If it doesn't work out, it won't be because of lack of effort. The worst thing we as Christians can do is to not give it our all. Complacency, lethargy and listlessness can easily bring down a church and won't do much to increase our faith, or spread the gospel. Jesus speaks to this and refers to it as being lukewarm. "I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth! (Rev 3:15-16). Ouch!! Jesus doesn't pull any punches there, does He?
Now I know we may not move as fast, or think as fast. We probably remember less and lots of things don't work the way they used to, but we all have something to offer when it comes to our faith. So short of a debilitating health issue, let's get out there and make a difference. Get your hands dirty, do the work of the Lord and make a difference right now! And in the end, that difference could last a lifetime. Yes, possibly in yours, but more importantly, in those whose lives you've made a difference.
Up next, the under 50 crowd.
Dave is the Discipleship Czar at Girard 1st. His unofficial title was given because of his love for Christ, and his consistent encouragement for people in their spiritual walk.