God doesn't call us to serve so we can be comfortable. As Rick Warren says "God is more interested in our character than our comfort."
Here's an interesting question. What would you do if you were confident that God was with you? (it says in scripture, If God is for us who can stand against us? Romans 8.31)
I think too often we are afraid to get involved with anything that challenges our comfort zone, because we fear what might happen to us. (Feed the homeless? I might get mugged! Go to the mission field in --fill-in-the-blank? I might get killed!) But there is probably a higher percentage of us getting in a car accident --which we have little, if any, control over-- than something bad happening to us when we answer the call to serve. And besides not all of us are called to put our lives out there in ways such as Kimberly Smith, who fights against human trafficking in Sudan.
I'm not comfortable with the thought of going into the mission field where I might be deprived of 'things' I consider necessary to keeping me clean and cozy. I like hot showers, soft beds and warm blankets. I don't like scorching sun, bugs, and dirty surroundings. (Stink bothers me. I don't do smelly. Just a trip to the dump, standing too close to the garbage pile, catching a whiff of any offending odors sends me scurrying back to the safety of the truck cab, gasping for fresh air)
But, (thankfully) God hasn't called me to that kind of mission field. at least not today. ;)
However, the places I am being called to serve can still stretch my character. I look at my day-timer and groan when I realize that I have a commitment almost every night next week. Mentoring, school, small group, dinner party.... and I struggle to muster up the enthusiasm and energy needed to pull it off. Then the Holy Spirit taps me on my shoulder and says "Sweetie, you're not doing this alone. Remember, I am with you. My grace will carry you through it. My grace will be sufficient. In all the places you feel weak? That's when I step in and show my power!" (2 Corinthians 12.9) It's actually kind of funny to even think that God built me this way--to short circuit when overloaded--just so that I would need Him so desperately to do all the things He asks me to do!
It would be so much simpler, easier, to just stay home and not get involved. To lead a quiet life that revolves around keeping my little house tidy and my husband well fed. And for certain seasons in my life that has been all God has asked of me. oh, and Go to church on Sunday, greet others, sing loudly, take some notes, rock some babies, wipe up spilled coffee, go home. Done for the week!
But at some point God started nudging me to do more. I resisted for awhile, hanging on to the safety net of wanting to be in control of my life and my schedule. I wanted to please God but I wasn't fully trusting Him. Then.... the truth slowly sunk in... the only real way to please God was to trust Him. This takes some wrap-my-head-around-it- action but I am getting it. When I let go of the need to control things, and start trusting God with everything, every area of my life, including my needs for comfort and safety, not only am I pleasing God but my life begins to truly make sense.
It's no secret that I have struggled with depression, and that I guard my downtime with diligence, determined to preserve my health and sanity. But what I see God teaching me is again that thing about Grace. He isn't asking me to be reckless or putting myself in harms way but to just trust Him. When I think about it that way, that whatever I enter into, if I do it with faith, then I have nothing to fear, it changes everything.
Someone recently shared with me her experience at helping with a food bank distribution and how the location for the day bordered on sketchy. She experienced no harm but it is unlikely that she will volunteer to help with this program again because of the safety issues. While I understand this kind of thinking, I am weighing it against the call to serve and wondering where the trust comes in. If God calls us to something, can we believe that He is with us in it? (question from above; what would you do if you were confident that God was with you?) Does the fear of taking risks get us off the hook from following the call to serve? Read the following paragraph and ask yourself if you think there is truth in this statement:
For a Christian, fear is dangerous. Any fear that keeps us from doing the will of God puts us out of fellowship with Him and forfeits His blessing.
I'm not saying my friend is wrong if she chooses to stay home from the next food bank distribution. Each of us must decide for ourselves where they are being called to serve. (and if we are not being called that is good reason to question our safety!)
I'm simply saying that following Christ requires us to trust. If we believe God is calling us to something, we must also believe that He will bring us through it.