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 first pregnancy led to the purchase of a Swiss crafted mattress, made of space-age materials, because she wanted a good night’s sleep. Pregnancy number two netted me (err, us) the elusive hot tub. She used it for about two weeks, but I found myself using it every day for several years. I loved just sitting there for 20 minutes or more, especially on cold winters nights (we lived near Green Bay, WI at the time). Then, one day, the hot tubbroke. 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 simply sitting in a hot tub. I ended up losing around 100 pounds and getting healthier then I had ever been in my life. 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 think a lot of us have a relationship with God that is spent in the comfort and ease 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 not only good, but they are necessary parts 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 it. Are we missing out on opportunities to make an impact for God because we’ve gotten to comfortable?
There is a great example of this in God’s call of Gideon. 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 hot tub” in our lives in order to use the strength God has given us to impact the world.