by David Wraight
So many people today are searching for ‘satisfaction’ in life. This is particularly true in the church. We long to be comfortable, to find inner tranquillity. The songs we sing and the messages that are delivered from the pulpit often focus on a personal relationship with Jesus that will bring satisfaction, peace and comfort. We talk of finding ‘rest’ in God? Yet I wonder whether this rest has more to do with belonging, meaning and purpose than comfort, inner peace and tranquillity.
I believe being a healthy Christian involves a restlessness that is characterised by a general ‘dissatisfaction’ with the way things are. It is this restlessness and dissatisfaction that is the catalyst for growth. If you are truly satisfied in life, then you will have no motivation to grow or to change things. The Christian life is all about growth. It is about becoming more like Jesus. It is about addressing issues of injustice and need in the world. It is about calling others into a right relationship with God. It is about being dissatisfied with how things are and striving to bring more of God’s kingdom values into your life and into the world.
Our attitude to life should be similar to that of a lifeguard, who is constantly alert to what is going on around him and extremely dissatisfied when others are hurting or in need. When people get caught in a rip in the surf and are taken out to sea, the lifeguard doesn’t continue to sit on the beach sunning himself relaxing in the warmth that God has provided. He very quickly becomes ‘unsatisfied’ that there are people drowning in the surf that he has been commissioned to patrol, and he will never be satisfied until he has dragged all of those floundering people back to the safety of the beach.
I don’t want to live a ‘satisfied’ life. If I am dissatisfied with the way I am, then I will strive to grow and become more like the person God wants me to be. If I am dissatisfied and unhappy about the fact that many young people in Australia don’t have a legitimate opportunity to know Jesus, then I will work hard to give them an opportunity. If I am dissatisfied and disturbed by the way our ego-centric materially driven society chews up young people and spits them out the other end with no hope and purpose in their lives, then I will fight the system and do all I can to bring hope and meaning to our young people.
If we are actively following Jesus, I think we should be experiencing a general discontent about the way things are – a discomfort that permeates our life because we are Christians living in an unchristian world. The Bible doesn’t picture the Christian life as being one of ease, but one of struggle and pain, of hunger and thirst for things to be right and an ever-present calling to be more like Jesus and share him with all around us.
As we begin this new millennium, may it be a period when the church is more and more populated with ‘dissatisfied’ followers of Jesus who will effectively represent him in a world that has gone horribly wrong.