My chair has no padding in it. Literally, I’m sitting on cardboard. Seriously. I think we bought this chair a year ago. Who knows. I like it. Its a good chair. It doesnt have armrests so I can play guitar without banging the guitar up. But it has no padding, which is a necessity for a chair, in my opinion. You know what I mean, a good chair has good padding. It’s supposed to. You sit in it, and it’s: “ahh, I sank for minutes”. Your butt relaxes in soft chairs. Meanwhile, my butt hurts sitting on this cardboard. Speaking of my butt, it has sufficient padding. You would think somewhere between the missing padding in the chair and the adipose in my rear there would be a compromise. It makes sense. I should feel comfortable because of my bottom. I should be: “Bring on the concrete”. All I really need is a few couple concrete blocks. The large grey kind. The kind we made an entertainment center out of when I was in college. You would think. But, no.
Somehow my mind focuses on the discomfort of the cardboard I’m sitting on, and somehow I feel uncomfortable.
Isn’t that funny. The human side of us always tends to focus on the negative. The faulted. The broken.
You’ve all seen this. Pretty people who are completely hung up on an inconvenient mole or birthmark, and so they cant see their own beauty. Talented people who are consumed with the talent of another and their proportionate shortcoming. Kind people who fault themselves for moody moments and stressful responses. Comfortable people who get distracted by slight discomfort.
Think about it. What does comfort achieve for us? Nothing. I mean, when we’re comfortable we don’t move. We don’t modify. We don’t change.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for comfort. I have a bed that you wouldn’t get out of and I love it. My couch isn’t bad either. When you take the back cushions off its almost as good as the bed.
It’s more in life where comfort seems to be such an enemy to, well, life. Clinically speaking, the classification of an organism that is not moving, changing, or growing is: dead.
What comfort steals is exactly what we think it supplies: it steals real life. It steals our desire to explore, to adapt, to change. While it is so sought out, so envied, and so desired, it is the leach that drains the veins of the heart of life. Jesus once said that he came that we might have life: a kind of amazing, exciting life that we all quietly want.
I’ve thought about that a lot lately. I’ve thought about how the most dead, robotic, predictable, and boring people I know are trying to follow Jesus. I’ve thought a lot about how we’ve missed it. How we’ve lost it. How we lost the texture of who Jesus really was.
The beauty of Jesus is He was the kind of man who drew attention from drunks and prostitutes. God made flesh apparently had such a blatant disregard for failure, and even sin, that his life was totally bent for loving those kinds of people, no matter the cost: failures & sinners.
That’s far from a life of comfort.
Discomfort added momentum to the early movement of the Gospel. The scriptures record that Peter was approached by a beggar asking for gold. Peter had no gold. He was broke. Busted. Uncomfortable.
The scriptures record how their conversation ended: Peter replied “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.” (Acts 3:6-7)
Around 1275 AD St. Thomas Aquinas was visiting Pop Innocent II in Rome. Aquinas was a renegade theologian. His ideas sparked conflict, and he, himself, didn’t keep the peace … He pushed for truth.
While displaying the spenders of Rome to Aquinas, the Pope responded “I supposed the church can no longer say silver and gold have I none.”
The brashness of the church’s comfort had obviously been conveyed. The church wasn’t lacking anymore. They weren’t suffering. In quite the opposite direction, the enterprise of the spreading the Gospel had brought them riches. Aquinas responded to Pope Innocent II with this harsh, but accurate statement: “True, holy father, and neither can she (the church) now say, ‘Arise and walk.’ “ I hate this cardboard chair and my hurting butt. But I’m thankful that I’m not comfortable in life. I’m thankful that theres a small voice inside my head thats constantly telling me “there’s more”. Im glad that I havent settled. I’m still moving, adapting, changing, and growing.
I’m alive. More than alive.
The next time you hurt, realize that theres more to life than where you’re at. Stop and realize that you’re alive, the kind of life that’s not complacent, cold, and dead. Then go, and live the life that Jesus so desperately wants to give you. Or … just sit right there and keep complaining.