If you want to know what someone really believes in and where there heart and head are, follow their money. Most people you and I know spend their money on one thing more than anything else in the world: comfort. So, you would be absolutely correct to say then that comfort rules their hearts and their head – or their thoughts and feelings.
Here’s how comfort recently affected me. I was in a wedding recently and it was outside. It was the summer and it was hot. It was so hot I think I started melting. What did I do without thinking about it? Complain. Whine. I was uncomfortable and may have been borderline miserable, if it hadn’t been such a joyous occasion. I owe the bride and groom an apology because of how my better social graces broke down into “I’m so hot I’m going to die” mentality. My comfort was infringed upon and I reacted like a typical American. Wow, how selfish.
You could look at my life and see where the majority of my money is spent and see the same thing. Comfortable furniture, comfortable clothes, comfortable housing, comfortable heating and cooling, comfortable car, comfortable relationships, etc. I know not everyone would classify everything as comfort, but that’s what it comes down to. If we aren’t spending money on comforts we are spending it on entertainment; TV, cable/satellite, video games, CDs, MP3s, iTunes, Movies, recreation and sporting events and so on.
A lot of those things could slide into comfort if we think of it in terms of the alternative: being still. Many of us can’t stand to have silence. We have to have a radio or TV going while we’re in the kitchen doing nothing related to it. We need to fall asleep to a TV. We need music or talking going on while we drive. So it’s uncomfortable to be still and we find comfort in noise.
There’s nothing wrong with comfort, in and of itself, but when it becomes king, we run into problems. We begin to demand it and it rules our thoughts, our actions, and our wallets. When people get in the way or question us about it, we get annoyed. Why? Because our comfort is king. Who do they think they are? They should mind their own business! So we make an idol of our natural, fleshly desire for comfort… easy enough to see the danger in letting it rule us.
The real problem is that our cultural context has the idea of “letting it rule us” all out of whack. The American system is completely geared towards this, so when we don’t do one or two things that “everyone else is doing” then we think we’re God’s shining star.
What did Jesus say? “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Luke 9:58 NASB). That was his response to someone who said they’d follow Him anywhere He went. So Christian, if you want to follow Jesus, should you expect to be comfortable? Some would say “Well, God doesn’t want me to suffer unnecessarily does He? He wants me to find rest and be comfortable.” But does He? Where do we get that idea? The rest that is offered is soulful rest in knowing the Prince of Peace. It’s a peace of mind, peace of heart, peace in your soul that is usually in turmoil.
We bring our 10%+ as long as it doesn’t interfere with our comfort. There’s no sacrifice. There’s no giving up of all comfort so that some might be saved… Statistics that say there are upwards of 180 million+ orphans worldwide and 20-30 million in the sex trade industry are so staggering they can’t be grasped completely. Those numbers might as well be one hundred million bajillion infinity to us. If the average salary worldwide is $7k a year (according to Boston Globe 2007) where do we stand to complain about our average $40k salaries? But we have no problem spending every penny of that and usually are in debt beyond that. Being married and making $50k or $80k a year sounds like a lot when you’re 18, but when you’re in the thick of it, it seems like just a little more and it’d be enough. We get incremental raises and we barely notice 3 months later as our lifestyles have absorbed that without any real impact.
American Christian, this isn’t a guilt trip. This is a call to wake up. If the Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head, why are we obsessed with pampering ours? There are people who die from dirty water every day. There are people dying from not having basic nutrition every day. We say “We’ll pray for them because we’re too broke for anything else” while we are left thinking we have so little, as we want more than we have, and as we are slaves to our king… King Comfort. If you don’t think this will come up on Judgment Day, I think you’re fooling yourself. If you don’t think this impedes the Spirit from living fully in your, I think you’re fooling yourself. If you don’t think this stops the flow of love from Christ, through you, to others in all situations… I think you’re fooling yourself.
Don’t buy the lie that we deserve any of this we have been given. Instead, stand on the Truth that says, “freely it has been given to you, freely give” (Matthew 10:8b). You were made for more than A/C, 4 meals a day, and a nice ride.