“SOFA!” is one powerful word in the personal mind of Jamie Worley. I hear it almost daily. When I hear this word it seems to penetrate my gray matter and force itself to the front of my brain no matter what else I’m thinking, saying or doing. I am brought to a moment of final decision, the decision to do or not to do. As one of the greatest theologians of all-time said, “There is no try…only do or do not.” That’s where I find myself and my “SOFA.”
Don’t be fooled, the “SOFA” is not some nice, warm, comfortable chair in my living room by the fire. The “SOFA” is almost aways the exact opposite. The “SOFA” is uncomfortable and frankly, I don’t like sitting on it, at least not for long. Have you ever sat on or slept on a Futon? The mattress/cushion is about an inch thick and the bars on the frame don’t exactly massage the middle of your back. After sitting on it for any amount of time, you get up like an 80-year old man who played pro football for three decades. This “SOFA” is kind of like that. The “SOFA” doesn’t allow for comfort anyway. It’s not designed for comfort, but discomfort. So why have this “SOFA” in the first place? One reason: I am a devoted follower of Jesus and it’s Jesus gift to every believer.
“So, Jesus wants you to have a “SOFA”? Yes. Did you know that? Jesus wants you to have a “SOFA.” Being the Christmas season and everything, this “SOFA” that I described above is probably not going to make it on your Christmas list. I can’t blame you. But Jesus wants you to have one. If Jesus was a Santa Clause, it would not be under the tree, but in your personal stocking, the one with your name glued to the white stuff in glitter. You remember that-don’t laugh, you had one too. You see, in the Christmas season we have a perfect opportunity to recalibrate our hearts and affections to God’s. And without this “SOFA” that heart and those affections simply can not become a practical and tangible reality.
As correctly mentioned by Traci McGowen on this website, the Church seems to have lost sight of the “SOFA.” We talk about the “SOFA,” but we don’t acknowledge it in our personal lives or in our corporate gatherings, at least not practically. When we do, it brings a warm feeling to us like a quiet reading of The Night Before Christmas, but at the end of the day it was just a nice conversation piece. What good is a “SOFA” that Jesus wants you to have, yet never use it the way Jesus intended it? It begins and ends as simply a time of observing the “SOFA” from afar. Before I tell you what this “SOFA” is, I need to warn you, it’s dangerous. It can cause you pain and suffering. The “SOFA” can take you to uncomfortable places you don’t want to go. The upside is that the “SOFA” can take you to blessings you’ve never experienced. Moreover, it can and will change every single area of your life, permanently,…for the better. The “SOFA” can lead you to being more like Jesus than you’ve ever been. That’s my warning. If you’re a follower of Jesus, but you’re not really that serious about living like Him, you will find the “SOFA” to be “too radical” for you. Even followers of Jesus who are serious about living a fully devoted life to Him find the “SOFA” to be quite radical, but hey, Jesus was radical and Jesus had the “SOFA” too. In fact, if Jesus had not had the “SOFA,” He would not have been our Savior. Further, if Jesus had not had the “SOFA,” you’re not saved right now. Now, how important is this “SOFA”?
So what is the “SOFA”? The word, “SOFA,” is short for “SO FAR.” The words, “SO FAR” have great spiritual meaning. These two words can mean one of two things. First, “SO FAR”
can mean what you’ve done so far, or up to this point. It reflects the things of your past up until the present. We can look at what we’ve done and who we’ve been so far and get an idea of where we need improvement and what we’ve done well. Secondly, “SO FAR” can mean how far you’re willing to go. It reflects that you are only going to go so far with this or with that. I want to briefly focus on the second one, how far you’re willing to go.
“SOFA!” is less of a statement and more of a question that must be asked each and every day, throughout the day, as we move along in our community in simple daily life. It is encased by the two greatest commandments, according to Jesus. Love The Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself. The concept of “SO FAR,” or asking yourself, how far am I willing to go? must dominate our thoughts and hearts when caring and loving our neighbors or fellow man, otherwise, people become a conversation piece at best, they are unintentionally taken for granted and devalued. We pass by thousands of people every day and I wonder how many people we could encourage with a word, feed with a $1.65 burrito or warm-up with a spare blanket or two if we just had a “SOFA” in the very front of our minds as we lived daily life.
You may say, I care about people! I pray for them all the time! That’s good and that has value, but let me ask you a couple of very simple questions. These questions will give you a gauge on where you are with “SOFA,” how intentionally you’re looking for people in need and how far you’re willing to go for someone in need. When was the last time you bought someone in need a meal or taken groceries to their home? When was the last time you took one of your numerous warm blankets sitting in the closet to a homeless person? When was the last time you noticed one of the thousands of people you pass every day and took initiative to pray for them right then, right there? When was the last time you told a perfect stranger how nice they look today? When was the last time you asked the school your children attend what some of the financially challenged families needed for their kids? You may have done these things at one point or another or on an “official” mission trip. But is this a part of your daily routine? Is this a lifestyle or is this a special event that takes place a few times a year?
Those were just a few simple questions that can give you a gauge on where you are in intentionally seeking out the needs of who Jesus would call, the least of these. Jesus set the example for us. Jesus sought out the least of these, the leper, the blind, the lame, the demon-possessed. He intentionally sought them out, touched them with His hands and loved them with His heart…and they were never the same again. Jesus always had the “SOFA” in the front of His spirit and mind. He was always looking to go so far for people. Well, how far did Jesus go? Well, we Christians are like Jesus in that we are both only willing to go so far (“SOFA”) for one another. But the biggest difference typically, however, seems to be the distances of our so far.
I don’t know how far you’re willing to go for the least of these this season, nor am I here to tell you how far you should go, that’s between you and The Lord. But I do know how far Jesus was willing to go and is still willing to go for you. He went to the cross for you, tortured, shamed and spat upon for you, the personal you. He went to the cross, sacrificing everything pretty and desired by the world, for you. Money couldn’t buy His gift to you. You could only receive it or reject it. Jesus’ sacrifice will serve you beyond any material productivity or temporary happiness. That sacrifice will serve you eternally. In fact, because Jesus was willing to go so far, you are being transformed into His likeness, are forgiven and are blessed. It’s that “SOFA” thing that has a way of sparking change, transformation in people. And guess what? People, you and me and the least of these, all make-up our community, our spiritually broken community.
What we need in our communities of hurting families, people in need and people in pain isn’t change, but transformation. Only God can do that and He will only do that through devoted followers of Jesus, a people of “SOFA.” But I have news for you, if the least of these remain a charitable conversation piece, Jesus will not transform our community nor give you spiritual peace. I’m not calling for churches to a movement of considering how far they should go, I’m calling for you, the individual devoted follower of Jesus to begin your own movement of going so far for the least of these. If you, an individual, adopt this “SOFA,” you will inspire others to adopt a “SOFA.” A movement doesn’t begin with a local church, it begins with a self-less believer. Will you begin the movement that transforms your community? You don’t have to give it all, but consider what can you give that will meet a need in someone’s life today. Give something, anything you have to meet a need one time every day, no matter how small. A cup of coffee, a burrito or hamburger, a hug and a conversation, a pair of gloves, a pair of socks. We have enough that we could give one thing away every single day and not suffer at all. We at the very least, should do that for the least of these. Now go and begin the movement that will transform your city, which can be sparked by a simple pair of SOFA socks.