Pitching to the Dragons Den in 2006, the inventor of the Trunki ride-on suitcase for children was told his idea was worthless. It was one of their more famous misses. Five million suitcases later he sold the business for £12m. His success was built on our desire for an easy journey. Long gone are the days of hauling heavy suitcases by the handle with frequent stops to rest our weary arms. Now we’re all wheels and telescopic handles. As with all things nowadays ease and comfort have become our watchwords.
It’s all a far cry from the one-way missionaries of the early 19th century. Setting off for far off lands with little prospect of a safe return they would book a one-way ticket and pack their belongings in a coffin. Nothing quite speaks less of comfort and ease than that.
Perhaps this explains the current weakness of so much western Christianity. We want our journey to be one of comfort and ease rather than pain and sacrifice. But Jesus was quite explicit in telling his friends that if they wanted to follow him then they must take up their cross. This was not an invitation to bear with some minor discomforts but to die to self. More coffin than Trunki!