“14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
In the sport of fitness and the sport of weightlifting, the idea of discomfort is often a banner and a flag that we fly during our training. We love to make ourselves uncomfortable and push our limits in the gym. We love the idea that we have pushed past and out of our comfort zone in training because we know that is what creates results. Discomfort in the squat rack and discomfort on the pull-up bar are a part of our training and something we embrace with pleasure. Today I saw a willingness to embrace discomfort outside the gym and the results were far greater than any squat PR.
Today, the second day of official class at King's Ridge, the upper school spent the day across Northern Atlanta serving and working in the community. This is a tradition at the school to create a mindset of service and to put the upper school students in a role they're not often in.
The group that I helped lead went down to the middle of Atlanta and spent the day at Safehouse Outreach in Atlanta. This ministry focuses on serving and helping the homeless in downtown Atlanta get back on their feet and pursue a healthy lifestyle. Their motto is “a hand up not a hand out.”
Our basic task for the day was to help make and serve the mid-day meal and spend the lunchtime hour chatting and playing games with the folks who came in the door. Nothing fancy to the work and ministry that occurred today, just pancakes, coffee and low-key conversation. However the impact was real.
King's Ridge Christian school is a private Christian school in suburban Atlanta. Thus the exposure those kids had today was to a lifestyle that they're not often exposed to. Hopefully, it helped open and soften their hearts a bit. These kids are not often put in situations where they are a little uncomfortable and aren't often given opportunities like they had today to interact with people from a different walk of life. For the folks who came in today to eat pancakes and hang out with the kids you could see that this was one of the highlights of their weeks. A simple, non-abrasive, normal conversation over a game of chess or a game of Jenga was more interaction than these men and women had had all day. You could tell that as much as this was a benefit for the kids it was an exceptional display of the Gospel for the folks who walked in the door.
However, you could also see a measure of discomfort in both the kids and the adults as they walked in the door. Even I was a bit uncomfortable as my experience today was definitely not a normal occurrence for me. And yet, amidst the discomfort and amidst the awkward tension that began the conversation, a relationship formed. Friendships were created. The presence of the Holy Spirit began to remove the walls and societal class structure that had once separated the folks in the room. You could see the Gospel uniting men and women unto the Lord for not only the benefit of both parties but also the glory of God. What was uncomfortable at first was redeemed by the unifying power of Christ and made to make much of The Lord. The same way God did this in the early Church with the Gentiles and the Jews. He did it today uniting different groups of people with wildly different backgrounds and wildly different circumstances unto Himself. This is how heaven will be; united as one body, not blind difference but united as one body appreciative of our differences.
This entire scenario happened because some students and some adults took a risk and stepped into something they knew to be uncomfortable. This is the story of the Bible and a calling on the lives of believers. James 2 and much of the Bible challenges the believer to put flesh on their faith and allow our faith to be personified by our actions. Actions on behalf of the Gospel often put us in uncomfortable situations. It is in those uncomfortable situations that God is often most glorified. Don't be afraid of discomfort. Embrace it.