‘We must go beyond our circle of comfort’

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He was embarrassed. I was uncomfortable.

I had met him a few times before.

He lived in the same community that I was living in at the time. I remember that he lived alone. I do not recall the details as to why he was alone. Perhaps I never knew them, but there he lived in his humble home all by himself.

He seemed like he was in his 50s, with greying hair – but I really have no idea as to what his true age was. He seemed like a nice enough fellow – always friendly, from what I recall.

But in all honesty, I hardly knew him.

In another time and another situation, the church I was at decided to assist a low income family with groceries over the holiday season. We collected funds among ourselves to help this family, and then picked up the groceries that would assist them to be able to at least have a great week of meals during Christmas.

When it came time to deliver the groceries, it was told to me that I was to drop them off, as that was the role of the pastor.

No one in the church really knew this family, and by the remark made to me, no one seemed interested in changing that.

Perhaps, they didn’t want to embarrass the family by having too many people stop by – or perhaps they wanted a hands off approach to helping others.

But in all honesty, our preferences took precedence over those who could have used some love and connection.

Generally speaking, people are good at showing concern for those they know well. We all have cliques, or groups that we tend to find common ground with. We may eat with, socialize with, vacation with or simply stay in touch with those to whom we have as our circle of friends.

We need these times of interaction and relationship.

Perhaps the sad reality though, is that, generally speaking, we become comfortable with our circle and rarely ever deviate from it.

We may do some kind deed…give to the food bank…drop some change in a kettle. Yet how often do we stretch ourselves to expand our circle of friendship beyond what we already have?

I know I tend to be comfortable.

I have always been aware of those around me who were not the popular ones. Those who seemed to have less friends than what I considered the norm. My heart went out to them. I, on occasion, decided to purposefully connect with them – sometimes in small actions – other times by offering to be a friend.

But my default is always my comfort.

            I am glad that Jesus, by leaving His comfort of heaven, came to our circle and made the offer to be our friend.

            But that hope isn’t only for those who know Him. It’s also for those that don’t. ‘How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?’

            We must go beyond our circle of comfort.

            I knocked on the door.

            I heard a faint, ‘hello’.

I opened the door to find the man who lived alone, sitting at his kitchen table. He was surrounded by liquor bottles. He had thrown up on himself. He was drunk.

He was embarrassed. I was uncomfortable.

I offered to come back later, if he preferred, but I said that I didn’t mind visiting him then.

That surprised him. He said I could stay.

We talked together. About his life. His situation. His needs. I prayed with him.

We got to know each other.

The next Sunday, he came to church. The first time I had ever seen him there.

Cool.

“Lord, may our comfort not keep us from showing your love.”

 

Ken Banks is the pastor at the Wesleyan Church in Truro.

Visit them on the web at www.trurowesleyan.ca

Merry Christmas!!

 

Organizations: Ken Banks, Wesleyan Church

Geographic location: Truro

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