Wednesday, May 04, 2011

If I’m comfortable, do I need the Comforter?

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 - "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.  If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort."

Last week, after almost 40 years in this business, I saw things happen that I have never seen before. People comment on my age and say, “I bet you’ve seen everything.” I thought I had but I haven’t.

One incident I saw this week is a case where a tenant locked his keys in his suite and rather than wait for someone else (fellow employee or even call us) he kicked in his solid core door. The cost of repair will exceed $700. Why couldn’t he wait or call us? I asked him that question. He put his hands in the air and just shook his head in disgust.

What is happening to us? Why the impatience? Why the despair?

The world may lose its head, racked with guilt, despair and impatience; I guess the last refuge of relief is to kick in your own door.

I talked to the man at length; however, for the sake of privacy I do not reveal any more about the incident. But, when the world sees only randomness, no purpose and no plan greater and bigger than themselves, I understand when they say “To hell with it all”.

Jesus said we must obey and live out the incarnated God upon earth in the Name of Jesus. Who is called to have compassion upon these lonely, hurting people – we are! As believing Christians we should be the sweet fragrance of Christ. If we obey and demonstrate the love of Christ it will cost us--inconvenience, time and even our own personal peace.

To live radically for Christ means our lives, schedules, our favorite relationships will be thrown in disarray. Easily we can slip into the mind boggling despair, gloom and impatience. People inside and outside the church will encourage us to “leave them alone.” If we will, our life and schedule will not be in disarray, our heavy hearts will not be burdened.

Our life will be much more comfortable if we ignore the hurting and needy world around us. “Don’t get so radical - leave them be”, people will say. “I don’t feel sorry for you if you are stupid enough to get involved in their fractured life.”

Yes, I really understand the temptation to look the other way; I have convinced myself I didn’t need to do anything. I do all the second guessing, I do all the running away from the obvious--because I want a comfortable, undisturbed life.

Then I asked myself, if my sole desire is to have a comfortable life - why is the Holy Spirit called the comforter?

Only people who live uncomfortable lives need “The Comforter.”

Hiding out in my comfortable life is not what I was called to do. I’m called to be salt and light and demonstrate the love of Christ on the streets of Minneapolis and small towns of Western Minnesota. If I obey, I may be uncomfortable. But God has provided the Holy Spirit - the Comforter and I need not lose my head in despair. Why? Because I have “The Comforter”.

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