How often do you think of your safety and security? Do you hesitate when given the opportunity to do something “out of the ordinary” for the sake of Christ?
A few weeks back as I was driving down to the capital city from our home in the north, we encountered a dose of African wisdom painted on the back of a bus. It revealed something that I believe is at the core of our American worldview.
We were behind a dusty bus, that was almost certainly carrying a number of passengers that far exceeded its safe limit, the bus had clearly been wrecked before because though it was driving forward the back wheels and the front wheels seemed to be going in entirely different directions. But the thing that caught my attention and made me think was what was painted on the back of the bus.
On the top of the bus it said “Jesus is Lord,” but on the dusty mud flap it said, “Safety first.” These are two phrases within the Christian vocabulary that I think we have gotten confused. To put it very simply, both can not be true. If Safety is first, Jesus is not Lord.
In our culture safety is a very foundational consideration in every area of life.
We desire financial security, so we put money into retirement to ensure that we will always have what is needed to secure a comfortable life until we die.
We desire physical security, so we insure ourselves against disease and sickness, and we avoid anything that could possibly be dangerous. We fully enclose our kids into trampolines to keep them from falling, and we keep children in car seats until they are old enough for a learners permit. (Don’t freak out! I am exaggerating to make a point)
We desire spiritual security so we go to large churches where no one will ever challenge us personally or call us out on our sin. We send others into the “dangerous” mission field, but we hesitate to leave the comforts of our warm bed and Netflix on demand.
There is wisdom at the core of all of these precautions. I have a retirement, medical insurance, and a comfortable home. But I know that to say that Jesus is Lord and mean it, will bring me into danger. It will take me out of my comfort zone and into places where I have to confront my desires for comfort and a lazy, self-centered life.
Ultimately, you will have to choose one of the phrases as our mantra to live by; you can’t have both. If Jesus is Lord, obedience to him is the most important thing, even if it takes you into danger. And sometimes it is through danger and hardship that he reveals himself more clearly. But if safety is first, your comfort will be your guide. And though you may live longer and suffer less, at the end of your life, you will have wasted your 80 years by fearing life instead of living it.