It is so easy to get comfortable in our lives with our surroundings, our environment, our neighborhoods and our church. We settle in for the long term without really being all that aware of it. As Christians, our attitudes should be that we are willing to go where the Lord wants us to go and to do what He wants us to do. We should be ready to get out of the comfort zone and do the Lord’s work. I can’t help but think about Abram and how he left his homeland without so much as a question to God (Gen. 12:1-4). He didn’t even know where he was going, he gathered his family together and started walking. Can you imagine doing that! You hear the voice of God, loud and clear, and you gather your family together and jump in your car and start driving. You don’t know where you are going and as you travel, the Lord gives you directions. That would be kind of like a built in spiritual GPS; as you approach a major intersection or an interstate, the Lord starts giving directions but only you can hear them. OK, that is a little unusual but it has happened to some Christians but maybe not in that particular way. I heard the story of a young man, a hippie, in the days of the Jesus Movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s, who would go to the airport, at the Lord’s direction, and wait to be instructed as to where he was going. Without fail, someone would walk up to him and say, “The Lord told me to give this to you.” The person would not hand him money, but a ticket, already purchased, to the destination where the Lord wanted him to go. This happened on more than one occasion.
Some of us are so firmly planted in our comfort zone, we would never consider taking this type of action. When the Lord wanted me and my wife to leave California and relocate to Pennsylvania, it took six months for me to realize I had to be obedient to this calling from the Lord. My first response was an absolute no! I loved living in southern California; the weather was great, I was involved in thriving ministries, my children were there, all our friends were there and did I mention the weather was great? I grew up in Pennsylvania and I knew what the weather there was like. It was hot and humid in the summer and cold and snowy in the winter. That didn’t seem like a fair trade to me. But after praying this through for six months, I knew this is what I needed to do and I needed to do it because this is what the Lord wanted me to do.
Get Out Of The Comfort Zone When God Calls
What we have to realize as Christians is we need to get out of the comfort zone when God calls and do the work He has called us to. There are times when God will persist until we realize we need to submit to His calling. Jonah is a classic example of this (Jonah 1-3). He ran but the Lord was extremely persistent, and that is an understatement. There are other times He will get someone else to do the work, but that is a topic for another time. How many examples of this do we have in scripture? Noah, building the Ark because God told him it was going to rain for 40 days; Noah had never experienced rain but still went ahead and started building and telling those who would listen (and they didn’t believe him) what God was going to do (Gen.6:8-22). Moses and the burning bush episode. Moses argued with the Lord until he realized this was something he had to do for God (Ex. Chpt. 3). He went back to Egypt and went face to face with Pharaoh 10 times because God instructed him to (Ex. Chpt. 5-11). Hosea married a prostitute because God told him to (Hos. 1:2). The Lord used Hosea’s situation to make His point concerning adulterous Israel. And, of course, Paul and Barnabas were sent out to preach the gospel to the gentiles (Acts 13:2). And finally, Jesus told His disciples and us, to go out into the world and make disciples; tell the world about Jesus (Matt. 28:19). There are so many other examples in the Bible of those who were called by the Lord and responded but they are too numerous to mention here. If we are to live our Christian lives according to God’s word, then we should be obedient to what Jesus has instructed us to do. Our heart should be prepared to hear the voice of God and respond to His call.
A lot of Christians fear being called to a distant location to do God’s work and they can only think of being called in this way. But, the Lord needs workers locally as well as in a foreign location. I was one of those young Christians who always thought God would call me to go to a far away mission field. The truth is, God knows who is prepared to answer that call and those are the ones He sends to those locations. Jesus knew where I was prepared to go and it wasn’t a foreign mission field. He may call you to go across the street to witness to a neighbor or He may want you to go to Appalachia and work with those people. Jesus knows our hearts and He knows what we are capable of doing. He will prepare us for the work He will call us to, but we need to respond when called. We need to get out of the comfort zone and get to work. I have had more than one pastor tell me how they ran from the call to ministry. They knew God was calling them to a pastoral ministry and they didn’t want to go or they were afraid; they also told me how they finally gave in to the call. It is truly a blessing to receive the call from Jesus to go forward into a ministry and follow His leading. He provides for us and takes care of us. I can testify to that promise; He never failed to provide for us when we traveled across the country with nothing waiting at the other end. He provided employment, housing and many other things which we needed, not for our wants but our needs. My wife and I did this three times and every time the Lord provided for us. We had unsaved friends telling us we were crazy; they could not grasp the idea of leaving a good, well paying job and moving across the country where there was nothing waiting for us at all (except Jesus, of course)! It was a perfect time to tell them about Jesus and His work. It was a great opportunity to witness. Now, this is not an easy thing to do for the Christian who’s faith is weak or who is not prepared to receive a calling such as this. But, the Lord will not call anyone who is not prepared to make this type of move. Again, God knows us, He knows our hearts and He knows when we have been sitting long enough. He knows when we have received more than enough preparation and He knows when it is time for us to go and minister and do the work He has for us.
Get Out Of The Comfort Zone And Get To Work
A big problem in the Church today, and it has always been this way, there are not enough workers to do what needs to be done. Sunday School classes go without teachers, buildings go without needed repairs, outreach ministries cannot reach out and pulpits are empty because there are not enough workers to fill the needs. There are are a few reasons why this problem exists but let us assume that all things are in place for training up people to fill those needs. Now I can only think of one reason those needs would go unfilled; those who the Lord is calling to fill those needs are not responding. Please understand that I know there are always circumstances in every local church which prohibits the fulfilling of every vacant ministry position. I am not addressing these situations; I am simply referring to those who know they are being called and will not respond. We used to have a saying about the types of people in the local church when it came to fulfilling the ministry needs, “There are shirkers and there are workers. The shirkers refuse to help and the workers do all the work.” Maybe you are in a situation such as this and if so, then you know very well what I am talking about. I think the main problem lies in the fact that there are too many Christians who attend church 2-3 times a week and never get involved in any work. They see others doing it and are content to sit by and do nothing. There are those who think since others are doing the work, they are not needed. We should never assume help is not needed because we see someone else doing the work. There can never be enough workers. Also, we should never sit idle and allow everyone else to do the work of ministry. I know, in most cases, that would not be tolerated at our place of employment. Consider this: Your boss wants to know why you are not working and you reply, “Well, I saw the other guy working at it so I decided he didn’t need help.” How long will you last at a job with that attitude? Are you there just to collect a pay check? In the same sense, did we accept Jesus as our savior just to avoid going to hell? Did we accept Christ as our savior only to get fire insurance? What did Jesus have to say about a lack of workers?
He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” Mt. 9:37-38 NLT www.gatewaybible.com
The harvest is great but the workers are few. Not much has changed since the time Jesus spoke these words. There are too many Christians who do not respond to the call from the Lord. People may respond to this by saying something like, “Well, I’ve been a Christian for a while and I’ve never heard God telling me to do anything; He has never spoken to me.” I respond to that by asking if they have ever been invited to take part in an outreach ministry or have they ever been asked to help with the Sunday School classes at church, have they ever been asked to help out with cleaning the church and many, many other invitations to help somewhere in some kind of ministry. This was or is Jesus calling on us to get out of the comfort zone help with His work.
There are also those Christians who will attend the mega-churches because it is so easy to hide due to the size. They come and go and are never approached by anyone and therefore they don’t have to get involved. They are thousands of other people there to do that stuff. It is simply to easy for them to hide out in these huge churches. This is not just individuals but entire families; they come in and get they weekly fix of Bible and then go back home and to their personal lives. Jesus will tap on their hearts and hopefully they will respond and realize there is more to Christianity then just attending church services. There is another important point to be made here; we can be involved in the Lord’s work outside of the church. There is so much work which takes place outside of the church walls and it is in more need than the ministry inside the building. Remember, Jesus could be calling you to a work outside of the building such as street witnessing, inner city missions, rural missions, secular work place ministry and so many others. Personally, I would rather be involved in the Lord’s work and be in church once a week than be in church 3 times a week and not doing anything!The Christian who is seen only once a week in Church might be so involved with the Lord’s work, he can only make it to one service a week. The Christian who is sitting in the pew for every available service but not doing anything for the Lord is doing nothing except taking up space. Pew potatoes don’t always grow and they can become rotten and stale and are not always healthy for the body (of Christ). So, if you have heard the Lord calling you to help in His work, don’t refuse or ignore Him, get to work, get out of the comfort zone. We should consider it a blessing that He would ask us to be a part of His work. If He has entrusted a portion of His work to us, we need to realize how important that is. There is nothing else in this world which can be more important than answering the call when Jesus invites us to be a part of His work! Be a worker, not a shirker.