Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Courage does not come in comfort

Being comfortable does not require courage. When a church remains in a state of spiritual stasis, it does not need courage. Doing what we’ve always done, maintaining the status quo, and perpetuating a weekly cycle of go to worship/give an offering/go back home does not demand courage. Living the way you’ve always lived is a comfortable existence (if somewhat bland), but it is not a courageous one.

In Biblical terms, living in Ur is not an act of courage.

When God called Abram, He offered him the chance to not only be immensely blessed, but also to be an immense blessing to others. He offered Abram the chance to literally be a world-changer. “You will be great” and “You will be a blessing” were two sides of God’s one coin that He held out to Abram. It was an amazing, heart-pounding moment filled with enormous opportunity. But there was one catch:

Abram had to have courage.

Abram had to get up, he had to leave, he had to go away from what he knew and the people he loved and set out on a journey. A journey for which God had chosen a destination that He hadn’t even felt necessary to share with Abram at this time. God demanded one thing of Abram: faith in what God was promising was good and worthy and deserving of courage.

Courage doesn’t come in comfort. It only comes in crisis. Courage comes when a church finally grasps that it is dying a slow death and that it must make some changes in order to continue with God’s mission. Courage comes when you call in end-of-life hospice care for your husband and you realize that very soon you will be alone. Courage comes when the phone rings and the doctor says, “Your test results are back. We need to speak face to face.” Courage comes when life is shaken up, when the status quo is thrown out the door, when you are forced to come face to face with the realities that life means change, that change means discomfort, that discomfort means crisis, and that somehow God still has a destination in mind for you at the end of it all. Courage only comes when are forced to say, “Yes, Lord . . . I do believe that what you promise is good and worthy and deserving of courage. Speak, Lord, and I will follow, no matter what the cost.”

In other words, courage comes when you follow God and leave the comfort of your own personal Ur.


  1. Hi.

    I'm Twila, Bruce's wife -- Art Capper's nephew. I've been reading your blog since Uncle Art's funeral, and I have also been listening to the podcasts of your sermons (though you haven't put any up for a while). I just wanted to let you know that you made a big impression on me that day, and that I take inspiration from this blog to continue my Christian journey -- even if I am a "pagan Methodist".

  2. Thank you, Twila! Your words are both extraordinarily kind and extremely encouraging.

    As for "pagan Methodist" . . . HA! I'll have to share that one with my UMC friends! :-)