The Inconvenience of Convenience (pt 1)

An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You should never see an “Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order” sign, just “Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.” ~ Mitch Hedberg

The inhabitants of first world nations are no stranger to convenience.  It has become so commonplace that many of us have grown to expect it and utter chaos breaks out when that expectation is not fulfilled.  

Globally pronouncing our frustration that the shampoo never runs out at the same time as the conditioner may be toeing the line of insanity!  

There is much to lament in this world, but cold butter tearing our bread or realizing that the remote is over ten feet away after getting comfortable in the lazyboy is not worthy of such categorization.

Unfortunately, convenience and the Church have long shared a grievous affair.

The day-to-day operations provide a great example of the 80/20 rule where 80% of the work is carried and completed by 20% of the people.  Jesus’ Body appears to be full of side-liners, individuals who either do not see the needs or who believe someone else should meet the needs they do see.

In His day Jesus lamented, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Mt. 9:37-38)

In verse 35, we read that Jesus, “went throughout all cities and towns…and healed every disease and affliction.”  Now this may be hyperbolic, but I checked the Greek and found that all means all and every means every.  Simply put, Jesus worked.  The reason seems to be found in verse 36 where Matthew wrote, “he (Jesus) had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

There is so much work to be done, so much potential to actualize, so much Kingdom building yet to be constructed, but we so often minor in the majors and major in the minors.

Unlike Jesus, I find myself lacking compassion.  And further than that, I lack the proximity and vision to even notice that something is wrong in the first place.  I avoid problems at all costs by looking the other direction, literally and metaphorically.  I so quickly and with ease judge our world for its wrong beliefs, however, many of its Good Samaritans absolutely shame me as I purposely pass by on the other side. (Lk. 10:25-37)

Have you ever been in a position to rescue but took the “convenient” route of avoidance and negligence?

I can’t count the ways I have!  So, I’m starting small in my own life.  Lately my wife and I have been on a mission to simplify our lives because we’re finding that a chaotic lifestyle does not yield a life of service.  We’re starting small by giving away much of the distractions we once were proud of (music, movies, books, clothing).

It is scary to realize that a clenched hand leads to a clenched heart.  What was intended as a blessing can easily turn to a blinding bondage if the world of others are conveniently shut out.

May I invite you to this way of life, an existence of living with eyes wide open?

If you become open to seeing the problems, you will very quickly become overwhelmed.  But take heart, Christianity is not a call to comfort for in this we become complacent, dying a slow death.  The declaration Jesus has over the redeemed is certainly one of discomfort for it is full of work among the harassed and helpless, the diseased and afflicted.

Some of us, however, struggle not with seeing but with seeing the work through.

Jesus saw all and every need, had compassion, and went to work.  He did not always do this but in either given circumstance He took care of business.

Solomon encourages us, “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” (Ecc. 7:8)

As John Quincy Adams once said, “Duty is ours, the results are God’s.”

God hates divorce, but the marriage between the Church and convenience must be dissolved.  Let us annul the relationship of Christianity and convenience one believer at a time!

P.S.  In case you’re still unsure, considering aliens a problem definitely places you in the first world!

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