Acts 10 is the story of two people. The scene opens with a man named Cornelius, a prominent Roman military leader who was compassionate toward others. You get the feel that he was well respected by those who knew him. He was a good man; in fact, one of only five men in the Bible who are called “good.” That’s quite a compliment! But despite all of his goodness and his many acts of charity, he still had a huge hole in his heart. There was a vacuum within. He knew it, and God knew it.
Cue the next scene. The story transports the reader to another location where one finds Peter atop a roof deep in prayer. While in prayer, Peter had a vision. In his vision, a sheet descended from heaven filled with a variety of animals that didn’t exactly fit the Jewish dietary laws. A voice came from heaven that instructed Peter to kill and eat the animals. Peter protested to God and passed on the ham sandwich. After the vision repeated itself the third time, Peter got the point.
What was God doing? He was trying to get the gospel to Cornelius, but in order to do so he had to disturb and disrupt Peter from his comfort zone. As I thought about this passage, it made me wonder how willing I was to get uncomfortable for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. How about you? What comprises your spiritual comfort zone? Religious tradition? Dress? Political party? Socio-economic status? Skin color?
We must never forget that the call of the gospel is a call to become like Jesus Christ and not like ourselves. In order to make an impact in today’s culture, it may require people like you and me to leave the limits of familiarity and take some steps into new territory.
We are usually most comfortable in the comfort and security of our own homes. The farther away from home we venture, the greater our level of discomfort. Think of Jesus. Bethlehem’s manger was a fair piece from the throne of glory. Yet Jesus left his comfort zone and took on flesh and came to our polluted planet. It seems the least we could do is walk across the room.
I believe for every one of us there is at least one corresponding person like Cornelius who is waiting for us to be willing to take the risk leaving where we want to be to head to where we need to be. Think about it. It could change your life, and someone else’s, too!