Years ago I had a poster which warned anyone who has been born, or is about to be born, that research has shown 100% of people in these categories die, therefore anyone who has been born or is about to be born should contact their doctors or attorneys.
They have a point. Life isn’t safe. But recently I have seen a pattern that makes me wonder if we really understand–0r believe–this. The world expects everything to be safe. If it isn’t, they file lawsuits, lodge complaints, stage protests. And I understand that–if I was of this world I would want it to be safe too–after all, it’s all they have.
But those of us in the Kingdom have something else. It doesn’t render safety irrelevant, but it certainly changes it in order of priority in our lives. Let me give you an example. Yesterday I was talking to a woman who was part of our congregation before she moved. She was telling me about serving in her community, and how someone in her new congregation told her she shouldn’t be doing that–it wasn’t safe. She thought about it, and even shared it with her small group, when someone asked her: “Where did we get the idea we are supposed to be safe”?
In order to faithfully serve our King, we have to be willing to risk our safety. We don’t do it uselessly or without reason–but we do it. Jesus told us “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25 NIV)
Somewhere along the line we have forgotten this–or rejected it. We have come to see personal safety as the first priority for any service to the Lord. We have even broadened this to include emotional and relational safety. As though what we are protecting is more important than the Kingdom–or the King. So, we don’t risk sharing our faith because it might make someone mad or uncomfortable. We don’t maintain scriptural standards in the church out of fear for what the community will think or do–or God forbid, the IRS (I have no political affiliation–am NOT Republican or Democrat–I just don’t think we should be concerned about these things). And we make decisions about helping others based not on whether they need the help, but on whether we can do so and stay “safe”–physically, emotionally, etc.
Could this be why the newest generation of adults believes they have a right to not be offended, or upset by what the church teaches? Could it be why so many in the world question whether faith is relevant to life? Could it be why we who claim Jesus as King don’t experience the peace he promised? Because we have put “safety” above faithfulness in our lives?
Life isn’t safe. But that’s OK. I am dying. So are you. I don’t know when I will go. I don’t know when you will go. I do know that God has given me life today–and I choose to live it faithfully to Him–even if it isn’t safe. Join me.