What’s a comfortable place for you, where you live? Do you have a favorite chair? A relaxing room? Do you enjoy sitting on the porch in the summertime? I very much enjoy my porch time during the summer, with a gentle breeze, chirping birds, comfortable chair and toasty temperatures. I’ve added a few things to my porch, like some cushions and hummingbird feeders to make it all the more pleasant. My porch can be a wonderful oasis resting place for me, but there’s also a downside. Sometimes, I can sit on my porch and get so comfortable that I don’t clean my house as well as I should. Or I can enjoy my porch for too long and do a dinner scramble which can be less than tasty.
While there are lots of good things to be said for being comfortable, let’s pause and consider some benefits of getting out of our comfort zone, using Peter in the Gospels as an example.
The first time we see Peter interacting with Jesus was when He borrowed Peter’s boat to teach a large crowd while Peter cleaned his fishing nets on the shore. I would suggest that Peter’s proverbial comfort zone was his boat since he was a fisherman by trade. Peter’s boat was well known to him, reliable and his work office of sorts. He was in his boat almost daily and it was his trustworthy resource to earn a living – familiar and relatively comfortable in some respects. Nevertheless, when Peter first interacts with Jesus, he’s not in his comfort zone. As you read through this experience in Luke 5, Jesus kind of upsets Peter’s comfort zone, giving him a miraculous haul of fish and calling him away from catching fish to become a fisher of men.
The second place where we see Peter leave his comfort zone is in the dead of night, on the Sea of Galilee in a really scary storm. During this crisis moment, the disciples in their boat see Jesus walking on the water, and it totally freaks them out!! But Peter, attempting to discover if it was really Jesus says, “If it’s you, Lord, bid me to come.” Jesus says, “Come,” and Peter gets out of the boat, his comfort zone & secure place, in a storm and walks on the water to Jesus. I recognize that Peter got distracted by the storm and began to sink. Still, I think we can learn a lot from Peter leaving what was safe and familiar to walk to Jesus during a really scary time and even horrific experience.
The last place we see Peter get out of his boat is after Jesus’ resurrection in John 21. After another miraculous catch of fish, John tells Peter that Jesus is on the shore. Upon hearing this, Peter jumps into the water and swims to Jesus. Once the disciples / fishermen had finished eating the breakfast that Jesus had prepared, He initiates a really powerful conversation with Peter about his love for Jesus.
In these three instances of Peter leaving his boat and stepping away from his comfort zone to follow Jesus, very incredible things happen in Peter’s life. Let’s be aware that Jesus could call us away from our comfort zones into something that would be far more rewarding and also into a life that would grow increasingly closer to Jesus. Let’s be committed to prioritizing our relationship with Jesus over maintaining our comfort zones!