Summary: Motivational chapel message to inspire the student body, faculty, and staff @ Ozark Christian College to spiritually stretch themselves for Christ’s glory.
Comfort Zone or End Zone ?
* The Visual Bible: Matthew (8:1-4; 26:36-56)
I love these scenes! The first one, from the first four verses of Matt. 8, reveals the utter self less ness of Jesus – when everyone else steered clear of this poor man with leprosy, our Lord Jesus was first in line to give him a hand – literally – a healing hand. From this quick glimpse into the early days of His ministry, we pick up on the fact that Jesus’ ambition was to give His life away . . . by thinking nothing of His own desires but solely on the needs of others.
And then the garden scene from Matt. 26 – Bruce Marchiano recently wrote a book about what it was like to portray Jesus – he shares that this Gethsemane prayer scene was the most difficult of the entire four volume series. . . . . How could Jesus pray what He did – “Not My will but Your will be done” – knowing that imminent death awaited Him – and not just any death, the most horrific, agonizing death any human being would ever endure! He was able to do it because that’s what His entire life was about – giving His life away for others – dying to self – consumed with doing the will of His Father – putting His own desires not just on the backburner but off the stove entirely! He came not to be served but to serve.
This unselfish Savior is our example – He’s the One we’re called to pattern our lives and ministries after. I’d like to take a few moments this morning and motivate us to follow in His footsteps -- To get out of our Comfort Zones and move down the field of life with an End Zone mindset – consumed with reaching the goal-line of being conformed into the image of God’s Son – having the ambition of being just like Jesus.
Before I discuss this “End Zone” mentality further, I want to take a brief look at Paul’s words to the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 4 – we’re not going to be able to dissect these verses one at a time – we’re going to look at the overall theme Paul is stressing in this section of his letter.
We all know the church at Corinth was not the most mature group of Christ-followers. Paul diagnoses them as having “the disease of Me” – they were a bunch of “Comfort Zoners” -- they were consumed with self – always striving to be seen in the spotlight. Just the opposite of Jesus!
Two days ago Dr. Gardner so wonderfully reminded us that leaders in the Lord’s church are servants – men & women who roll up their sleeves and have no concern with titles/positions -- they are consumed with meeting needs – thinking less and less of themselves and more about how they can imitate Christ and be Christ’s hands reaching out to a hurting world.
If any one had the right/privilege of claiming heirarchy in the church – if any one could get away with pulling rank – it was the Apostle Paul. Yet, he deliberately downplayed his position as “The Apostle to the Gentiles.”
Instead of describing himself with the rank of General . . . . or ArchBishop -- Paul refers to himself as “the worst of sinners” in 1 Tim. 1. Paul refers to himself as “a fool” in 1 Cor. 3 & 4 and 2 Cor. 11. And, in the 1st verse of 1 Cor. 4, Paul refers to himself as simply “a servant.”
As you read down through the rest of the chapter, Paul contrasts the arrogance of the Corinthians with the example of the apostles’ humility.
I want to challenge us this morning to make a choice – a daily choice – to either live with a “Comfort Zone” mentality or with an “End Zone” mentality. Let me quickly define both of these terms.
Definition of a “Comfort Zone” mentality:
Being self-satisfied -- like the Corinthians -- they couldn’t echo Paul’s words in Phil. 3:12 “Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect. . .” because, in their own minds, they had obtained it. They already considered themselves royalty – thus Paul’s sarcastic wit in v. 8 when he writes “You have become kings. . . .”
Bottom line: individuals with a “Comfort Zone” mentality are willing to remain in mediocrity, settle for the status quo, be utterly complacent.
I like how Pat Riley defines complacency. Riley, now coach of the NBA’s Miami Heat, in his book The Winner Within defines complacency:
“Complacency is the last hurdle any winner, any team must overcome before attaining potential greatness. Complacency is the Success Disease: it takes root when you’re feeling good about who you are and what you’ve achieved.”