Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 4 of “Compelled – Living the Value of Outreach Focus” (LISTEN HERE).
I don’t like to be uncomfortable, but sometimes it is good.
What do I mean?
A few weeks ago, my wife and I went to the season fund raiser for our younger daughter’s volleyball team at the local high school. We chose a table early in the evening as more people were arriving, but ended up sitting alone the whole evening. (Maybe this says something about us!?!) Part of the evening was billed “Meet the Eagles,” yet we didn’t get a chance to meet too many. They were interested if we put our hand up to bid on items being auctioned off.
As we mused afterwards, we thought what could have been done to incorporate new families into the ones who were on their fourth year of volleyball.
It was a bit uncomfortable. But it was good.
It’s good to remember what it’s like to be a new person in a group. It’s good to notice what makes you uncomfortable so you can be better aware to make a new person comfortable.
We can get comfortable in our churches. We know people. We have friendships. We know where things are and how they are done. We invest in programs that benefit us, serve our spiritual needs, and engage our kids.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, what about the new person? What about the visitor that walks in your door? Will they just leave thinking all they were interested in was “paying some money” toward the church offering/fund raiser? I hope not.
I am not faulting anyone before I fault myself. It is easy to get comfortable and lose concern for those who are new or not yet part of the family of believers.
The angel to the church in Ephesus praised the Christians there for their defense of the truth, yet condemned them for losing their “first love.”
Revelation 2:4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.
At first the Ephesians were good at loving God and loving others. They forgot to continue.
Loving others is truly part of having an outreach focus. When we love others, we are willing to be uncomfortable ourselves to make someone else feel comfortable. Jesus was more than willing to sit at a table with individuals no one else wanted to. In fact, when Matthew invited him over for dinner he ate with tax collectors and “sinners.” Yet, while the “church people” would have never sat at the same table, Jesus was willing to be uncomfortable to bring his love and grace to another group of spiritually sick people.
Matthew 9:10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The people outside the church are not in the church to represent themselves and tell you/us what would make them comfortable. So, compelled by the love of Jesus, carrying an outreach focus engages us to perhaps get uncomfortable so another soul might find comfort in the healing, saving, forgiving love and grace of God.
Apply: What person do you know is disconnected from Jesus? What setting might be comfortable for them but uncomfortable for you? Could you step into that setting to engage that person in conversation for the sake of the Gospel?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone in heaven to become uncomfortable on this earth so you might bring the comfort of the Gospel to us and many others. AMEN.