Saturday, January 19, 2013

Comfort or Survival: Why Do You Pray?

I was driving down my street going to work one morning and I saw birds huddled on top of a light pole. At first glance, I thought “birds”, but I looked again because they were all puffed up trying to stay warm. We learn in school how this or that animal “has thick fur and feathers to stay warm in the winter”? Now, it was 19 degrees outside. How warm is really warm? If you think about it, what people call "warm" is really comfort. We get so warm that we don’t need a coat or gloves on in the house. Some make it so warm they only need a sheet on the bed in the winter.

Animals do not have this luxury. So when we say they have thick fur or feathers to stay warm I think the truth is “their thick fur and/or feathers keep them warm enough to survive in the winter.” The two meanings are completely different. Animals react to their environment. In the summer they are more active and in the winter they are less active. How do they know the difference in seasons? Their bodies tell them – it’s frigid outside. Because of the temperature their fur or feathers grow thick and they become less active. Now, if they really stayed “warm” how we think of staying “warm”, animals would be so comfortable that their activity level would not change. They would be just as active and burn off more energy than they could replace with the limited food supply in the winter.

Now, to bring this around to us as Christians. Because this earth is not our final home, we are not to get too comfortable. When we get too comfortable we let down our guard, start removing protective articles of clothing and forget it’s actually cold and bitter outside in the world. When we pray for this or that are we doing so because our survival is being threatened or are we looking for comfort? Jesus said, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). We must not look for comfort so much that we forget we have a purpose and are bearing a burden – the commission to bring men and women to Christ.