Starting a new job is tough. It doesn’t matter what you do or who you work for, the transition is hard. The work itself may not be the problem. Maybe it’s finding the best route to work to avoid traffic. Maybe it’s realizing that there’s no way to avoid it, and having to sit in a parking lot called a highway for an hour before and after work! Maybe it’s finding the good places to eat for lunch and still get back inside of an hour. It’s not any of those for me. There’s only one reason I’ve ever started a new job: more money. Now, this may flesh out in ending a season of unemployment, by God’s grace, or being offered a position after being at the same place for a while, but the motivation has generally been the same. I’ve recently ended one of those seasons of unemployment by accepting a help desk/entry level programming position. The work has a learning curve, but that’s not the hard part. The hard part is fighting the idols of comfort, security, and stability to make sure that I spend my money in a way that glorifies God.
Now that everyone’s asking themselves “Doesn’t God want us to be secure and stable?” Well, yes, but not in the way many would assume. We live in a culture which THRIVES on worshiping the idols of comfort, security, and stability. We live in a culture that makes it easy for us to rationalize not tithing or being generous in helping others so that we can be comfortable. We live in a culture that presses us to worship Mammon and look to him for stability and security.
Yet, we Christians follow a Leader who was effectively homeless, broke, and completely alone in what some would consider His most desperate hour of need. We weren’t promised financial security. We weren’t promised comfort. We weren’t promised consistency and stability. We were promised persecution! We were told to count the costs. We were awakened to a war that has been raging for ages.
I haven’t seen or heard anything else by Paul Washer, who did the video, but his words ring true and resonate in my soul. Every time I approach financial security for my own comfort, something inside of me KNOWS this is not right. Somehow external stability just seems too easy. Constant stability and comfort are not fitting for a warrior.
We live in what I am now going to start calling “The culture of Spock”. Yep, the guy from Star Trek. Whenever he would say goodbye to someone, he would say “Live long and prosper”. Isn’t that the way we think? We want to live to 105 and spent the last 40 years “independently” wealthy so we can cruise around the world and be comfortable.
In reality, we need to be more like a Klingon, sticking with my Star Trek analogy. To “live long and prosper” is basically a disgrace for a Klingon. Death in battle is the highest honor. So it is for us. God may choose to allow us to live to the ripe old age of 105, and may even grant us our “independent” wealth. But every moment of that 105 years should be spent FIGHTING to advance the Kingdom of God. Every penny we can spend should be spent to spread the gospel, love and reach the lost, and aid the needy and oppressed!
I love Revelation 12, because it so clearly depicts Satan being defeated, the end of the war. In the midst of Michael and his angels fighting and crushing Satan, and the salvation and power of God in Christ being fulfilled (or consummated), there is one very curious line.
Revelation 12:11 ESV
11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
The accuser was conquered by the blood of the Lamb AND the word of “their” testimony. Right now, this is easy. Testimony is just telling people what God’s done for you, right? But they loved not their lives even unto death. So, the word of their testimony was displayed by them maintaining that testimony until death. The ESV commentators note that these are martyrs, so perhaps “execution” is a better word. These men and women were so committed to advancing the Kingdom, so determined to preach the gospel, so determined to love and reach the lost, that they threw away any typical sense of security, comfort, and stability and fought to accomplish their mission until they were killed for it!
How do we reconcile this with our culture’s propensity to lavish ourselves in comfort? We have to pick one. Warriors don’t live in a constant state of comfort. They live ready for war, with brief periods of relaxation. In this war, our relaxation only comes when God shelters us from attacks. Our security comes from knowing that God has already won the war. Our comfort comes from knowing that whether we live or die, we will be with Christ in the end! Our stability comes from the Holy Spirit living inside of us, moving in us, and comforting us.
Our purpose is to advance the Kingdom! Our command is to lay it all down to accomplish our purpose. Our reward is eternal comfort, security, and stability in Christ. Both in this life, and the next.