I look around and I see comfort. I see a lot of comfort. I’m comfortable. My children are comfortable. Folks at church are comfortable. We are all very comfortable. And this strikes me as not right. We’re too comfortable.
“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion,
and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria,
the notable men of the first of the nations,
to whom the house of Israel comes!
Pass over to Calneh, and see,
and from there go to Hamath the great;
then go down to Gath of the Philistines.
Are you better than these kingdoms?
Or is their territory greater than your territory,
O you who put far away the day of disaster
and bring near the seat of violence?
– Amos 6:1-3, ESV
Those who were in Zion (Israel) were at ease. Those who were in Samaria felt secure. However, were they right with God when they felt this way? God, through Amos, called them to look upon other lands and peoples. God asked them a key question, “Are you better than them?” How should we answer that? Am I any better than the folks in Haiti, in Guatemala, in Sri Lanka, in Albania, or in the downtown area of my city? I am more comfortable than many in these locations. However, if my standard is God’s standard, I am not better. Moreover, not only am I not any better, but my nation is not any better, either, which goes to God’s second question. I’m not better, but I’m more comfortable. Should I be worried?
“Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory
and stretch themselves out on their couches,
and eat lambs from the flock
and calves from the midst of the stall,
who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp
and like David invent for themselves instruments of music,
who drink wine in bowls
and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
Therefore they shall now be the first of those who go into exile,
and the revelry of those who stretch themselves out shall pass away.”
– Amos 6:4-7, ESV
I believe I should be worried. Most believers relaxing in such abudance should be worried. The warning in verses 4-7 is exactly against such an easy, comfortable life if we aren’t grieved over our brothers and sisters who are suffering. A brother in Christ recently wrote that he was having a hard time after coming back to the United States. He has been on several missions trips to a particular South American country. There, the folks are ecstatic over a single room house we’d classify as a shed, one meal a day, no electricity, and no frills to speak of. Meanwhile, if we get bored and are awake at 3 AM, there’s likely at least one fast food joint open near us with a hot meal and free WiFi. This is a huge and drastic separation in fortunes. It did not sit well with him. It hurts me to say this, but most of the time I don’t even think about the wide gap which exists. The constant comfort lures me into forgetting about my brothers and sisters.
Therefore, the condemnation and judgment I read in verse 7 is deeply concerning. While the specific context of the prophecy was Israel, it reveals the character of God. He is not pleased when His people luxuriate in comfort while their brothers and sisters suffer. The only conclusion I can reach is I am too complacent. A desire to help is not about guilt and it’s certainly not about a tax write-off. I love my Lord Jesus. His Word tells me He loves and is concerned for my brothers and sisters facing greater hardship than I. If I love Him, my love should extend to them, too. Real love in this scenario involves action. What am I doing for the love of others? What am I doing to overcome my complacency? Are you too complacent as well? If so, what will it take for you to overcome this complacency that lures us away from the love Christ would have us demonstrate?