Playing it Safe?
Have you ever wondered about the first guy who ever attempted to skydive? Seriously, what was he thinking? I have always imagined him sitting at the supper table looking at the table cloth and thinking, “I’ll bet this thing, if I put it on my back and it was able to spread out, would slow me down if I jumped out of an airplane.”
Maybe it didn’t go well for him—and if that was his method then probably not. But someone had to have the idea—someone had to actually go up in the plane—someone had to have jumped out…and I do not know skydiving history—but maybe it went well for him—maybe it didn’t. But one things for sure—this person had no desire to play it safe!
Safety—we all desire it! America is consumed with being safe. Seriously, look out your window this afternoon at the children riding their bicycles—they all have helmets on! (Calm down all you mothers—I am merely making a point here!) I remember riding a bike in the late 70’s and early 80’s through woods—down steep hills…and WITHOUT a helmet!
Or seatbelts—when I was a kid I wasn’t even really aware they existed…but now I always “buckle up” before I “crank up.” Why? I want to be safe!
For some reason we have taken this safety thing to the extreme—we put warning labels on cups of coffee to tell us it is hot (DUH)...and just a few minutes ago I discovered the following statement on my computer keyboard, “WARNING: Some experts believe that the use of any keyboard may cause serious injury. Consult statement on the back of this keyboard.” PEOPLE!!! It’s a KEYBOARD!!! Hence my point—we desire to play it safe.
My question is this—where does safety play into Christianity? Seriously—haven’t we all prayed for safety at times? My question is exactly where in Scripture are we commanded to play it safe? I personally believe that playing it safe has caused the church in America to be viewed as a fossil rather than the unstoppable force that God designed it to be.
A true Christ follower desires a lot of things—but safety is not one of them!
Look at Jesus—HE LEFT HEAVEN! (This was unsafe!) He came to this planet and was crucified—NOT SAFE!
Look at the early church—in the book of Acts they went from 120 to 3,000 in ONE DAY! This was NOT SAFE!
Look at people who followed Christ—they wound up sawed in two—in dens with lions—in the fire of a furnace—BECAUSE they were radically following Jesus!
God desires a lot for our lives; however, I don’t believe we can argue that He wants us to be safe!
But some of us play it safe—and the result is a life FULL of feelings of worthlessness. We want more—we desire more; however, we will never become who God is calling us to be if we surrender to safety over submission. Let me give you a few examples…
You may be reading this at work—and you HATE your job! HATE IT! You wish you could do something else—a dream that you have always had—you desire more—but you refuse to pursue that dream because your job is safe—you can retire there. You will be miserable—but at least you can pretend you are happy because of all the “toys” you can buy.
You may be wanting to start a church…I’ve been there, it was one of the scariest times in my life. BUT you want to wait until you raise all the money you need—you want other churches to support your dream…you want a staff of 10 from day one…and so you will not do what you know God is calling you to do because you desire to be safe.
Churches are called to reach beyond their walls to people who do not know Christ—BUT many refuse because this is unsafe. “Those people don’t know the rules—they don’t dress like us, they wear NASCAR t-shirts and believe that wrestling is real!” Nope—many churches want a church full of people JUST LIKE THEM—this is safe, it’s COMPLETELY UNBIBLICAL—but safe. And so every week people show up at their stained glass fortressed and give their community the middle finger and tell them to go to hell because reaching them would take some serious changing…and that would just not be safe!
Safety! It may be nice at times. I admit that I check my doors at night to see if they are locked; however, it we are going to truly become radical followers of Jesus Christ then we must abandon this idea that He has called us to be safe—He’s called us to follow Him—that’s awesome, exciting, life changing—but hardly ever is it safe!