The call of complacency

Sharper focus


I received a long anticipated call the other day. My husband, Chris had been away at a conference for nearly a week, and I was anxious for some good quality time over the phone. It wasn’t as though life could not go on in his absence. Rather, there were many things we needed to talk about thus making the timing of his absence both ironic and perfect.

Ironic: My husband was just over the border, pending an important decision regarding the nature and future of our ministry to be made only a day after his return. This was a life-changing decision.

Perfect: God didn’t care if Chris was in Tim-buktu or if I was in Topeka. His desire was to speak truth to us as individuals, thus bringing unity to our decision from afar.

Meanwhile, I received another call. I had only just begun to count the cost of all that lay ahead, when the still, small voice of God reassuring me of his faithfulness was overpowered by the blaring call of complacency. Startled, I quickly found myself worrying and wondering, “If there are hundreds of other committed Christians out there… why on earth do we have to inconvenience ourselves? Besides, if we’re already serving God here, do we really have to go there?”

When did I become so lazy? Somehow, apathy had moved into my heart where passion had once resided. I had found protection in my home, comfort in my surroundings, and was happy serving God on my own turf and on my own terms. I had waned in my desire to serve the least of these, lacked zeal for social justice, and had forgotten that God would never leave me or forsake me… whether in the safety of a suburban locale or in the ghetto of the inner city. I felt weak and desperate, ready to make a deal with God if it meant cushioning the fall just a bit.

But this wasn’t a game show. The deal was this: risk full life in Christ or remain sheltered by the status quo—remain cushioned, comfortable, and complacent.

What compels us to even entertain the idea that God wants to barter with us anyway? Why do we bargain, saying we’ll do this as long as he provides that? Do we forget that God not only created the most intricate of creatures, but also the very air we cannot see but surely breathe? He’s not just the God of the great, grand, design… he is the God of perfect and exquisite detail. So while I’m worried about the neighborhood and whether we can afford it, God’s weeping over the people shooting heroin and sleeping in their own filth on the street. Would God call me to do something that was full of risk if he didn’t have the details completely covered? That’s not the God I serve. The God I serve says the risk is worth taking.

This fall, Chris and I will move a mere 20 minutes south of our current, comfortable surroundings and into one of the poorest, risk-abounding areas of inner-city Seattle. There, we will bring the vision and mission of The Salvation Army back home in the form of an incarnational and bivocational ministry called StreetLevel*. We will not worry about the safety of our family. We will not fret over our financial insecurities. We will not allow regret to infiltrate our ministry.

We will serve Christ by lovingly serving others. We will engage our community and share the hope for holistic healing. We will train up disciples to live for Jesus unabashedly. We will pray that God will bless our efforts and increase our territory. We will work for the salvation of souls. We exist because of his mercy and we will live to tell about it.

Whether or not Jesus’ voice is far more faint than the persistent call of complacency, I urge you to follow after the One who offers a peace that presides over all comfort the world can offer. Full life in Christ is worth the taking. So, if complacency calls—hang up.

Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. James 1:2-4 (NLT)

*For more information on StreetLevel please
contact Chris and Erin Wikle @ 206-783-1225
or We are
looking for others to move into the neighborhood.

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