Letting Comfort Trump Your Calling


Pastor Brandon and Sarah, with little Rachel, had answered the call to New Hope.  He packed up and brought his family to the new town and church to invest his ministry into the lives of those in this sleepy suburb.  Located right off the 490 just a few miles from downtown, this quaint place offered so much of what he and his wife had been looking for.  After a couple of years, they had their second baby, Thomas, and life was awesome!  Their house was full but enough for the needs.  They had done quite a bit of painting and making the house their own.  The church was experiencing growth and a fresh input of families.  The energy in worship was catching and the community was enjoying the presence of the church and her pastor.  They loved what God had done for them and were quite satisfied with the life given them.

Then God spoke.

It wasn’t so much an audible voice as it was an internal nudge.  Brandon thought it was just the ministry culture urging him to move on and he ignored the feeling.  The nudge became more prominent and Sarah began to feel it too.

What is he supposed to do now?

Why would God be speaking right now?

What in the world could be going on?

He knew they didn’t make loads of money, but they were satisfied.  They love their community.  They loved their church.  They were happy.

They had grown comfortable.

In the book of Ezra we find him leading a group back to Jerusalem.  The nation has been exiled to Babylon for a number of years.  Now, they were being allowed to return to do the work of restoration to the temple, the city, and their covenant relationship with God.  A peculiar verse popped up this morning as I read,

15I assembled the exiles at the Ahava Canal, and we camped there for three days while I went over the lists of the people and the priests who had arrived. I found that not one Levite had volunteered to come along.

Ezra double-checked his list and reviewed those who had accompanied him on the journey. Why had none of the Levites joined them?

A rabbinic legend says that there were Levites in the group but that none were qualified to carry out temple duties, for they had all bitten off the fingers of their right hands so the Babylonians could not force them to play temple music on their harps. Nevertheless, we should not be surprised that no Levites were in the group of returnees. No doubt a certain amount of prosperity in Babylon and the kind of servile work assigned to Levites did not make it easy to recruit them to return to Jerusalem.[1]

Whether the legend was true or not about them biting off their fingers, the comfort and satisfaction of being in Babylon was a real problem.  The Levites, those whom God has chosen to work in the temple, found it more satisfying where they were than where God wanted them.

Pastor Brandon had to deal with this very issue.  He had to reconcile his feelings with God’s future.

How about you?

Is God calling you to something else?  Is God being heard through the noise of convenience and comfort?  It is too easy these days to stay where we are, even if it is not the best situation, because it is what we have grown accustomed to in our lives.  Let us shake off the shackles that hold us back from serving our great God!

[1] Breneman, M. (1993). Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (electronic ed., Vol. 10, p. 140). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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