“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.” – John 14:27
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:29
This morning at men’s covenant group we talked about the problem with comfortable. It was a good discussion, especially so because the guys tend to talk openly and honestly about the challenges they face in their lives. It’s a small group (5-8 as opposed to the 12-15 who meet Wednesday evenings); and – in consequence – we typically have time to go a little deeper.
For me, the temptation to default to comfortable has been a lifelong challenge. Had I been a 1st Century fisherman in Galilee, singled out by Jesus for his life-changing invitation, I suspect my first response may well have been, “But I’m comfortable right here….”
But fortunately Jesus doesn’t give up that easily; he knows my heart and he’s ever so patient with me. “Follow me,” he calls – time and again; “you have not nearly begun to live.”
“I came so they can have real and eternal life,” Jesus says in Peterson’s dynamic paraphrase, “more and better life than they ever dreamed of” (John 10:10)
It’s an interesting situation. Jesus said on several occasions that he comes to bring peace; “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you,” and “you will find rest for your souls…” – but then he invites us to put everything on the line, to climb out of our easy chair, and to push the envelope.
Ironically, that is where (and when) true peace always tends to come. Not the bland, don’t ruffle my feathers, mellow all the way down to my toes, Sleep-Number-Tempurpedic, immune from the world kind of peace… but the deep satisfaction and purposeful experience of wellbeing that courses through us – and into others – when we are fully engaged in serving God. Now that’s not comfortable at all.
Wonderful, yes; life affirming, certainly; joyful, absolutely; invigorating, beyond our dreams; but comfortable? No, not in the least.
So here I am, wrestling with God once again, challenged to respond to Jesus in a way that engages life full on rather than toning it down to a manageable tempo.
Here I am.