Comforted or Comfortable?

Desert-Wallpapers-HD-6 Day 4

Prayer for the day

Save me, O God, for the waters have risen up to my neck.

Scripture for the day

Genesis 10-12, Matthew 4

In our readings today, God is the prime mover, leading both Abram and Jesus into uncomfortable places. Abram is led from his family and home to a place unknown to him, where, as we read later, there is significant famine. Jesus is led from his baptism, a place of what must have been incredible joy (being acknowledged by the Father as the Son and sealed by the descent of the Holy Spirit) into a place of severe discomfort (fasting for forty days and temptation by the devil).
Both men are directed by God to a new place, and both men face adversity in that new place. Much of our lives, particularly in North America, revolves around the seeking out and acquisition of comfortable or comfort-inducing things. We look for ways to make our lives easy, more lavish, more luxurious. We seek for status in things, in places, in people. We sit in the same comfy pew every week and hope for a nice comfy sermon that won’t challenge us. We insist on singing the same comfortable songs and having the same comfortable routines and traditions, not always because they’re good, but because they’re comfortable. And we fool ourselves into believing that comfort is always a sign of the presence of God. Genesis and Matthew are great reminders today that comfort is not a goal, nor a means, most of the time, that is in direct correlation to the leading of God. Comfort is rarely a proof of the presence of God. In fact, we were promised we would be comforted, not comfortable.
In this life, God has many things planned for us. It is our response, like Abram and Jesus before us, to be willing to move into places of discomfort for the sake of the Kingdom of God. God is willing to lead us there and be with us there. Our response is to follow.

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5 thoughts on “Comforted or Comfortable?

  1. i had to think about that for a bit. the beatitudes are coming up soon, and i bet they have something to do with what you are saying about being comfortable vs being comforted. it’s true of course- what you are saying about our lifestyle choices. “i came that they might have life” not i came that they might have a lifestyle of abundance. what is also true is that the average Canadian household carries consumer debt. so maybe its also fair to say in a non scientific way that the cost of living a comfortable life is higher then some can afford in time and energy and money? maybe im projecting too much, but i think God is concerned with relieving us from the debt our lifestyles incur by asking us to push on the lever of our lifestyle. kingdom first comfort second? in this passage jesus starts his ministry with a broad sweep of healings/comfortings. as an aside, is there an appreciable difference here for jesus between being lead by the spirit to be tempted of the devil, to being lead into temptation?

    and what is to be made of the great disunity brought about by God in confounding the language of men? immediately i think of jesus saying i came not to bring peace but a sword. an odd duality, the prince of peace carrying a sword of disunity. maybe it is the kind of sword that is surgical in nature, cutting gangrenous flesh away from living healthy tissue. i guess that the name they were looking to make for themselves was not in God’s interest. i like the phrase ” go to” it reminds me of ‘git ‘er done. so these people seek to work together to create this city and this tower, so as not to be scattered and forgotten, and they end up being confounded,scattered, and forgotten. is there a lesson in community building here? you could argue that in matthew jesus starting building a reputation and a name for the kingdom, inextricable from his personal healings and only after that did he call on others to follow. he didn’t (initially) call people into fasting and temptations. i wonder how receptive the disciples would have been if he had said, leave your livelihood and come live off the words of God my father. i suppose after they started travelling together they did not stop fishing entirely. if God asked me today if i hunger and thirst after righteousness more then, or before i, hunger and thirst after grocery bought roasted chicken, or hand grown organic vegetables for that matter, i would have to say i do not. the words daily bread- daily bread-daily bread- the son of man hath not where to lay his head- echo in my head.

  2. i re-read matthew 4, and then quickly checked the other gospels to see what came first… the miracles and the healing or the followers… i think i had it backwards in Matthew. it doesn’t say anything about miracles , just preaching before the call of james and john. i guess i sot of assumed, maybe from a lingering memory of the Luke account, that one came before the other, or that preaching and miracles were always partnered together with Jesus somehow.

  3. i wonder about God’s timing. i’m so used to hearing about God’s individual plan for all of his followers that i wonder aloud why God waited x number of generations before covenanting with Abram. Also i see god confounding mankind for wanting to make a name for themselves. i thought immediately of that passage that talks about god as not being the author of confusion. i had to google it to get the context. i generally accept that i must wait for god in things. but is god waiting at the same time, for different reasons? and if we understood some of those, could life be less confounding? i think too of that passage that says comfort others with the comfort with which you have been comforted. i guess what you are saying is that the comfortable don’t need to be comforted?

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