Yesterday I told the story of Paul and Silas in prison from Acts 16. (You can read it here.) God allowed Paul and Silas to be falsely accused, tortured, and imprisoned so that they could come into contact with a family of Jailers in the village of Troas. God sent a miracle earthquake to create a drama that would lead the jailer from the point of suicide to a dramatic conversion experience. Paul and Silas gave up an easy “get out of Jail card” to stay and share the Good news of Jesus with people who had earlier locked them in painful stocks in their no doubt filthy dungeon. It’s an amazing story of how the early church grew. It’s a beautiful story of redemption and forgiveness. It’s a clear picture of the awesome power of God to orchestrate events so that people who are far from him will hear the Gospel. …and it all came at GREAT PAIN and DISCOMFORT to Paul and Silas.
They had to be there.
They had to sacrifice their comfort and endure a painful situation so that someone else could hear the Good News of Jesus.
It reminds me of another story. A story that we’ll be talking about during the month of December. A story of a baby named Jesus born to a frightened young virgin named Mary. A story of someone who gave up everything to be here…who suffered incredible torture and pain so that the same people who cheered his death and caused his pain could experience eternal life.
He had to be here…come down here.
I’m pretty sure that’s the way it still works. I’m pretty sure that as followers of Christ we probably won’t always be able to be part of Jesus kingdom plan for earth in absolute comfort. I’m thankful that being a follower of Jesus probably won’t include being tortured and put in prison in America. However, something tells me that fullfilling Jesus’ command to go into all the world and share the Good news, will probably entail more than finding the most convenient service time, at the most personally fulfilling church, at the most accessible location, on Sunday’s when we don’t have any other plans.
Is following Jesus worth it? I think so.
Is it easy? Not on your life.
Convenient and comfortable? Hardly ever.
Sometimes you just have be there…