A DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT by Pastor Phil
Most of us, probably all of us, like to live in our own personal “comfort zones,” where life is predictable, non-threatening, relatively easy, and familiar. In or comfort zone, there’s little risk, little danger, it feels safe and we pretty assured of our success. There is good reason we like our “comfort zone.”
Then I read the Bible and discover that following God seems to always require leaving comfort zones. If you know these stories, you’ll quickly understand what I mean. If you don’t know them you should check them out. Abraham was told by God to leave his home and country (Genesis 12). Moses to go from leading sheep to leading a nation of slaves whose masters weren’t going to let them go (Exodus 3-4). There is Gideon (Judges 6-7), David who had to flee for his life twice (1 Samuel 21-22), Esther (Esther 4), Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2), any of the prophets (Jeremiah 1, 20; 1 Kings 18-19), the disciples leaving their boats and careers (Luke 5), Peter called to walk on water (John 14), Saul who became Paul (Acts 9), even Jesus himself going to the cross (Matthew 26:36-46).
When I reflect back on my own life and ministry, I see the same thing happening over and over. My first ministry position out of college was called Wandering Wheels. We shared Jesus with adults and youth as we built relationships with them on bicycle and bus trips. I was not a cyclist and an introvert and had told myself the year prior I was not cut out for that kind of ministry. Yet a year later, as unfit as I felt, I couldn’t deny that God was calling me to go there. Later, just a year before my wife and I planted a new church, I had told her that I was not suited for church planting, but again I was called out of my comfort zone. Even coming here to PGCC wasn’t my first choice, God made it my first choice.
In every case I am so glad I was willing to step out of my comfort zone because in doing so I experienced some incredible, life changing, empowering ministry. Much like Peter stepping out of the boat, I was able to experience God work in me, through me and around me in ways that thrilled me and strengthened my relationship with Him.
I often think about the disciples who stayed in the comfort zone of the boat when Peter stepped out. Sure, they witnessed a miracle, bit it happened to someone else, their experience was not close to that of Peter’s.
The testimony of scripture is overwhelming. Following Jesus will mean leaving our “comfort zones.” What comfort zone are you living in? What comfort zone do you need to step out of to follow God? What comfort zones might we need to step out from as a church in order to see God work in mighty new ways through us to reach our neighbors on all sides? Are you willing to leave your comforts to answer God’s call and see God work in you and through you?
I think about the disciples who fearfully stayed in the boat and saw someone else experience the power of God, but missed out on it themselves. I don’t want to be them. I want to take risks and follow God with no guarantees except for the only one that matters—it’s God I’m following. What about you?