Having grown up on an island in the Northeast of the United States I am all too familiar with signs like the one pictured above. Just about every year we were hit with “nor-easters” and/or hurricanes; or worse – “Super-Storm Sandy”! After ‘Sandy’ a friend showed me a well composed, wide-angle photograph of a big beautiful beach. With tears in his eyes he said; “you are looking at approximately where my living room used to be.” His house and the entire neighborhood was gone! There was no evidence of human habitation! The effects of these storms often had devastating, long-lasting effects on the lives of tens of thousands whose homes or businesses were lost, not to mention the loss of life. As a citizenry, when we got word that these storms were approaching signs like this became an important part of life. Let’s take a closer look;
a. To withdraw or depart from; vacate: The coastal areas were evacuated before the hurricane made landfall.
b. To withdraw or send away (inhabitants) from a threatened area: The Coast Guard helped evacuate the citizens after the flood.\
I recently thought about ‘evacuation’ as it pertains to my spiritual life and my walk with Jesus. Regarding Christ’s Great Commission; many of us have established comfort-zones (that includes me) in our lives that make it difficult if not impossible for us to respond in obedience to Jesus. That may or may not include you. As the old saying goes; “if the shoe fits, wear it”.
I mean; most people could tell you about their version of the “American Dream”; to own a fine home, to master meaningful hobbies, enjoy stable job security, vacation to exotic places, 401Ks, new cars and most of all – ‘time’to enjoy it all. In and of themselves these things are not bad or evil. But with regard to responding in obedience to Christ’s Great Commission; each one of the above things can become like a brick in a wall around our ‘comfort-zones’. As we add more and more ‘bricks’ to these walls they grow higher and thicker – until they become almost unscalable. That’s when we become trapped and our comfort-zones become inherently dangerous places that need to be evacuated; as soon as possible! To learn how to evacuate our comfort-zones we’re not going to see a sign like the one pictured above. No; for us, as disciples of Jesus, the ‘sign’ or evacuation route, is marked out for us in a different way. Our clear evacuation-route can be found in the Holy Scriptures in places like; Matthew 28:19, Acts 1:8, Mark 16:15 etc. If we would only eliminate (or reduce) the number of “bricks”, maybe then we would be free to respond obediently to those sign-posts that He provided for us. Imagine complete freedom and willingness to say; “yes Lord” – to anythingHe says!
With respect to establishing a comfort-zone; I have felt some gentle conviction during the writing of this blog-post. What about you? Is your comfort-zone threatening your ability (or desire) to fully engage Jesus’s command to go? Can you declare emphatically that you do not have a comfort-zone that is limiting or restricting your ability to say yes to anything that Jesus tells you to do? If you can – praise God; you are an inspiration to me! I hope to see you in the future somewhere in “ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). If you are like me, however – may I gently challenge you to reflect on the above scriptures and consider what your “evacuation” plan will be; like the ‘hurricane sign’ pictured above, doing so isa matter of life and death.