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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Playing It Safe

God is not safe. People think that coming to God will always appear safe. God will not comply with this premise. He will take people into places that demand faith. They will appear to be very dangerous. They will demand that the person or persons depend upon Him for safety. Our human nature believes that safety is found by keeping away from danger. It thinks that you will always be safe if you never run with scissors, never get into a fight or never go into dark places. Of course, playing is safe means that you are always mediocre. You live and die but are never remembered.

Playing it safe would have kept Moses in the Pharoah's court. He could have forgotten his Hebrew heritage and remained in luxury. Playing it safe would have meant that Moses could have stayed a sheep herder rather than going back to Egypt to get God's people. Playing it safe would have meant that Moses would have run from Pharoah after Pharoah opposed him. Playing it safe would not have led the people to the middle of a sea that could not be crossed quickly. Playing it safe would have meant integrating the people among the many peoples in the middle east. They would have lost their identity as God's people.

Doing what God says is seldom safe. It means leaving a safe job to do what God has called you to do. It may mean taking less pay when going to a new church because God has called you. It may mean addressing the sin of a prominent member of your church even though you realize that this will result in a firestorm of criticism. It may mean selling all that you have, giving it to the poor and following Jesus.

Yet, doing what God says though is ultimately safe. It will not seem to be safe. It will not have human assurances that it is safe. It will often lack the support of others. Yet, its safety is not based on what can be seen. It is based on faith.

The Bible tells the story of Jesus going to watch people give their money. Rich people gave a lot of money. A widow gives only two cents but it is all that she has. Jesus says that she gave the most. He doesn't say this but it means the same thing: "They gave what was safe. She gave everything so that she had to depend upon God." That was why she gave more than them. She gave away any safety. They only gave a small portion. (Check to see if someone says this in their prayer before the offering at church this next Sunday: "Lord, we return a small portion of what you have provided for us.") She understood that it all belonged to Him.

So, you can live a life of humanly assured safety or God-assured safety. The decision will determine who you are. It will reveal who you believe God is. It will either be one of mediocrity or given to God's glory.

There is only one truly safe place and it is not in playing it safe.

Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on."

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