Imagine that a close friend of yours makes some mistakes, goes to trial and is convicted to life in prison. A couple years later, you receive an unexpected phone call. You are shocked to hear that your friend has just received a pardon. The official asks if you would be the one to share the news and pick up your friend. Excited, you race over to the prison. After clearing security, you are ushered to your friend’s cell. With great joy, you share the good news about everything that has happened. “Let’s go! We can experience life together again! You’re free!”
Then comes the curveball. Your friend is not reciprocating your joy. With a furrowed brow, he just sits there and says, “I don’t know. There are a lot of things about this place that are hard to give up. I’ve got a roof over my head, three meals a day, and clothes to wear. I’ve got plenty of free time. I have a job in the workshop and make $1.25 an hour. A lot of the guys respect me here. It would be hard to walk away from all this.”
Incredulous, you answer, “What are you talking about?! You are a PRISONER right now! You could have all that and more OUTSIDE of prison! Don’t you miss getting to hang out together? Don’t you ever wish you were free?!”
Your friend thinks about it and says. “Yes, I like being with you… but everything here is just too much to give up.” Then he gets an idea, “I know… why don’t you just join me in here? You could have all this, too!”
How would you respond to that?
How often do we say this to Jesus? How often do we consider it too hard to give up things He longs to free us from?
Dustin Serns is pastor of the Port Orchard Church in Washington