Yesterday, I caught the end of Telling the Truth on the radio. I briefly heard a comparison between being inconvenienced and going through hardships. The example was a comparison between a person walking two hours to church in Africa compared to a westerner complaining about the temperature of the room. I will leave it up to you to guess which one is a hardship and inconvenience. 🙂
This brought me to my life and the reason I admire the people we serve at Kerusso. When I think through my life most of my troubles can be categorized as being inconveniences. Especially when it comes to my calling of serving at Kerusso. One area that receives a larger amount of attention by me is travel. For example, I often consider my travel schedule as a hardship. My next trip I will fly around 25,000 miles in 10 days. I will work in three different countries, and perform 5 days of training for around 100 leaders. Sounds hard right! Not really. I am actually spoiled in many ways. In India I was a little upset that I will have to travel the first day I arrive. My trip is about 80 miles and that takes around three hours in a taxi. I fall into thinking this is a hardship, when actually it is just an inconvenience. They could send me on the bus or train without AC when it is 100 degrees. Instead, I am in my cute little white taxi with the AC on high!
In reading the book of Luke, Jesus makes the ability to distinguish between hardship and inconvenience. As usual, our Jesus is extreme and challenges us with the concept of hardship and inconvenience. In Luke 9, he provides an example of incoviencence as a few disciples want to wait to fulfill their calling because they wanted a house, a 30 day mourning period for their father, and the desire to make sure to say proper goodbyes to all friends and families. All of these Jesus categorizes as inconveniences. (This is not always the case, but Jesus is specifically talking about a calling to follow him).
When Jesus calls me to follow him, I usually try to find the same type of excuses. Lord, I am gone from my family so much. Lord, I am not making enough money for my family. Lord, I need to be with my parents more. Lord, my travel schedule makes me so tired. In comparison to Luke 9, all of these are inconviences, which are difficult, but they are not hardships.
Jesus provides a picture of hardships in the sermon on the mount. Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12, Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven…”
My point in all of this is that the people I train are reviled, persecuted and have all kinds of evil uttered against them. Each day they lead organizations in areas of the world that do not want them to succeed and their fellow citizens and governments take drastic measures to prevent them from succeeding. Because of the situation these leaders face each day, I am humbled each time I am with them. They are truly blessed for their hardships.
For me, I still try to fight being upset over inconveniences. I am so much like the prophet Jonah and whine continuously as my merciful Father continues to provide so abundantly for my needs. One day I pray I can learn the difference between an inconvenience and a hardship when following Jesus.