Have safe places, but don't play it safe

When it comes to the word "safe," there are two sides of the story for Christians. I was reminded of this while I was preparing to preach at Sanctuary on Sunday morning. I was working on the idea of not playing it safe, but my friend Tim Morey emailed his congregation, urging people to find safe places. So on one hand, safety is something to be avoided, and on another hand, it is something we need.

This weekend at Sanctuary, I urged people not to play it safe with our lives. Gary Haugen has a nice discussion of this in the final chapter of his book Just Courage (a book some of us at Sanctuary have been reading). We innately want to prevent painful situations, and as Haugen puts it, many Christians are playing defense right now instead of offense. He says it compellingly:

"Many Christians are so busy defending their own end zone that they have forgotten the joy of scoring touchdowns. We fret over what might happen to our stuff, our reputation, our standing, our children, our ideology and our investments, and in the process we forget that we have these things so we can live fully for Christ. All the things we value were never meant to be safeguarded. They were meant to be put at risk and spent, for we are in a life-and-death battle (Ephesians 6:10-13)" (p. 106-107).

Likewise, in my sermon on Acts 5:12-42, I talked about the apostles being directed by God to do the one thing they knew would cost them their welfare, physical health, reputations, social standing, and pretty much all else -- they were to spread the good news about Jesus and call people to faith, even after being sternly warned by the powerful Sanhedrin not to teach about Jesus anymore. Jesus tells them to "be his witnesses," and the Sanhedrin warns them to "stop teaching in this name." What will they do? They go on teaching -- out in the most public place possible, the temple. We talked about how everyone knew what was going to happen to the apostles, and yet they taught about Jesus anyway. They valued obedience and faithfulness over their own safety. Are we listening?

Acts 5 teaches us not to play it safe. And Haugen states that the question "Am I going to be brave, or am I going to be safe?" is the question of this generation. Nothing happens when we play it safe. So let's agree that it's not good to play it safe.

Okay, then, "Safety bad."

On the other hand, "Safety good." ... I'll save that for my next post. This one is long enough. :-)


  1. Nice post Dave! Three cheers for safe places full of risk-taking people!

  2. interesting dichotomy - and so true!

    looking forward to part 2.


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