For years I really wanted a hot tub. However, being married to a very practical and stingy woman (her words!) put such a luxurious purchase out of reach. However, I discovered that there is a small window of time in which her frugality vanishes: pregnancy. Yes, months of sleep deprivation have an amazing way of wearing her down. Her second pregnancy netted me (err, us) the elusive hot tub as a way for her to relax and recover. She used it regularly for about a month, but I found myself using it daily for several years. I loved just sitting there for 30 minutes or more, especially on cold Wisconsin nights. Then, one day, the hot tub broke. The repair was going to be very expensive, and we had moved and no long had a good place for it. Suddenly, I had 30 minutes of extra time, which I soon started using to exercise instead of sitting in a hot tub. I ended up losing around 100 pounds and getting healthier then I had ever been. I often joke that our hot tub breaking was one of the best things that has ever happened to me!
I share this because I fear many of us have a relationship with God that is spent in the comfort of a “hot tub.” We attend things that make us feel good: worship services, men’s groups, fun retreats, Christian concerts, etc. We may even read Christian books and devotions, especially if they entertain us. Now, all of those things are important aspects of our faith (just like relaxation is a necessary part of our health). The problem is when we spend all of our time on these sorts of things and not on doing things that are more difficult, but equally (if not more) important. These can be things such as sharing faith with a neighbor, spending your valuable time to serve in a new way, or taking on that challenge you’ve felt God’s nudging you towards, but you’ve been afraid to accept. Are we missing out on opportunities to make an impact for God because we’ve gotten too comfortable?
A great example of this can be seen in God’s call of Gideon (Judges 6:11-. 26). Gideon was a man of faith, but he was very much sitting in the hot tub. In a time of great trial for his people he had stayed home and had reaped many benefits. But then God appeared to him and said: Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand (Judges 6:14). See, God has given us all strength and ability not merely for our own enjoyment, but so that we can be a blessing to others. This week, let’s ask ourselves if there are ways we need to step out of the comfortable “hot tubs” of our lives in order to use the strength God has given us to impact the world around us.