Running Towards Chaos
If you’re a college student, you were between 4 and 8 years old on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists flew commercial jets into the Trade Tower buildings in New York City. But you’ve seen plenty of images.
On impact, the buildings shook, upper floors burst into flames and were engulfed in smoke, many were killed instantly, and a mass of terrified humanity formed a river that flowed down stairways and into the streets. They then joined thousands in the streets who were running frantically to get as far away from the buildings as possible.
But there were also images of people running TOWARD the buildings - and reports of them fighting their way UP the stairs against the massive flow of humanity. Who are these men and women? “FDNY” – The Fire Department of New York City. In stark contrast to everyone else who was running away from the chaos, suffering, and death, they were running toward it.
These images give us a vivid picture of a Jesus-saturated life. Our Savior and Lord said, “I did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). The movement of Jesus’ entire life was away from comfort and toward need. And He clearly called His disciples to follow in His steps: “If any man wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up His cross, and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). This is clearly a call to suffering and death for His sake.
But moving away from comfort and toward need is totally counter-intuitive – and downright painful at times. So how does a selfish, comfort-loving human like me develop an “FDNY” life-style of moving away from comfort and toward need? Can I try really hard and become this kind of person? Not a chance!
The only way to become an “FDNY” Christian is to feast at the table of Jesus’ sacrifice to redeem us. The more we drink of the reality that Jesus voluntarily moved toward chaos, pain, and death to save me, the more my heart motivates me to make difficult sacrifices that He might save others – from human oppression and from the slavery of sin.
The U.S. State Department reports that there are currently 36 million men, women, boys, and girls being used against their wills for the profit of an oppressive pimp, trafficker, factory owner, or someone else. All 36 million live in the midst of chaos, suffering, and death. They will not be freed unless millions of believers move away from comfort and toward their deep need.
So let us feast at the table of Jesus’ rich provision for us in order to nourish a heart that moves away from comfort and toward need. Let us drink at the fountain of His sacrificial love toward us and pour it out on others. It is only as we look to Him – and feed on Him – that we are transformed day by day into the image of the One who ALWAYS moved away from comfort and toward need.