Written by Kelly McGugan, TFC Executive Director, and posted on a personal blog following his first trip to Ethiopia and initial experience with The Forsaken Children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He, along with a small team from his church visited TFC's Ethiopian team and worked with the children TFC serve. This post was written, Tuesday, July 13, 2010, three weeks after he arrived home from that short term mission trip.
Years ago my grandfather use to own a chair. It was HIS chair. He watched TV in it, enjoyed company while sitting in it, rocked his children to sleep in it, and eventually rocked his grandchildren to sleep in it. One day however, my grandmother bought him a new chair for their house. One that matched a little bit more with the decor. She offered the chair to me and I quickly said yes. Reluctantly, my grandfather gave up his chair to his grandson and the chair moved from his house to mine. When I went to visit him in Kentucky he use to ask me if the chair was still as comfortable for me as it was for him. He told me a few times that he never had a chair that was its equal. When he comes in town, he loves to come by the house and sit in it. I still refer to it as my grandfather's chair.
Now that I own it, I agree with my grandfather. The chair is VERY comfortable and as ugly as it is, I love it. I love my comfortable chair. My dogs love sitting in my lap when I am in the chair. One day I will hopefully rock my children to sleep in that chair.
I say all this because I feel like I've sat in my grandfather's chair long enough. My life has been comfortable for a long time.
Monday night our Ethiopian team members (minus 2 people) got together for a final debriefing of sorts. To come together to hash out what we had seen and what we have felt now that we are 3 weeks removed from our trip. It was a night of good food, good memories, and good conversation. Most talked about how life hit them in the face when they got back home and how difficult it can be to apply what they had seen to their daily life.
I kept rather quiet most of the night until a question was posed to me. I was asked what God was showing me in the time that I have been back. My answer is a two part answer..
1. Since I've been back, I've seen things a little different than I use to. I see things on the news differently. My heart responds differently to someone talking about what God is doing in their life. I had a friend go to Haiti recently and hearing her share her story actually meant something to me. Before my trip, I would have just said the token line of "Wow, that's great that God used you there." Then I'd go back to my own comfortable life. Now, it means more to me. I find myself wanting to do more with what little I have. I keep hearing in my head, "How can I make a difference in people's lives?"
2. Because of what I have seen, I feel responsible for my actions. Not that I wasn't before, but now I "know" and as GI JOE always says, KNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLE. I personally feel convicted of how comfortable I have become in my life. While Mrs. McGoo and I don't exactly have the funds to make huge differences in charities, we do have the belief system in our Lord that we can make a difference in things through our prayer, actions, time, and resources.
What I'm saying is that I've lead a very comfortable life. And I have noticed how we all find our ways into a life of luxury and comfort. A lot of my guy friends I met at church. We all met each other and use to pray for one another and now our conversations generally revolve around fantasy football, fishing, money, kids, work, sports, and other things. As close as we are and knowing where we met, I couldn't tell you the last time I had a meaningful conversation with some of them about what God is doing in their lives. It is like we have all become so comfortable in our lives that talking about God and what He is doing has become a non-existent thing.
This bothers me. Big time. These are guys that I've been in their weddings. They've been in mine. I've had meals with them. Fished with them. Laughed with them. Watched sports with them. Traveled with them. Yet no conversation comes up about our Creator, Maker, and Savior. It's concerning. I'm holding myself as responsible because I've found my way into a comfortable life.
Funny, that's what the enemy wants of us. Have the good ole family. Get married, have a few kids, and get comfortable with having fun with our spouse and kids. Make us believe that is what life is all about. The classic nuclear family.
I'll let some in on a little secret. Those of you that might read this... I'm praying for you. I'm praying that God stirs you up and rattles you like he has me. I'm praying that your life ISN'T comfortable. I prayed about it at church on Sunday in our class. I prayed about it Monday night at our debriefing and I am going to continue to pray about it. I don't believe that Christ wanted us to live a comfortable life.
So I'm here to say to some of you. I'm going to be asking you what Christ is doing in your life. I want you to ask me what He's doing in mine. I give you that accountability for me. I pray that you can find comfort in God's provision for you and know that it does not mean that you can always have a comfortable life.
I'm beginning to understand that comfort in Christ is all I really need. He'll provide the rest. So here's to being uncomfortable.
Except when I sit in my grandfather's chair.