Playing it safe is folly

fear1What if playing it safe is stupid?

Many, many Christians are atheists unawares. These words have been ringing in my ears all day long. Regardless of what we say we believe, what do our lives reveal about our true belief? The deepest (and truest) parts of me long to pour myself out for the name and fame of the Lion of the tribe of Judah-Jesus. Not the tamed and domesticated Mary had a little lamb, his fleece was white as snow-Jesus.

Every time I hear someone describe the church as a safe place to run and hide from danger, I am sure they are not reading the book of Acts.

And I long for what I read about in the book of Acts.

Nietzsche was wrong. Nobody killed God; we’ve just domesticated Him. We’ve made Him too safe, too dull, too predictable. And the church has followed suit. Few things disturb me more than church – loaded with potential – yet domesticated beyond the point of holy recognition.

I keep thinking about how so many Christians approach Scripture. Did people spill their blood to bring us a Bible that would be treated like Chicken Soup for the Soul? Do we see the stories of holy Scripture as a distant narrative of a fairy tale promised land in an age long gone … or as the active invitation into the life of God and His great drama of the ages? Why are all these average Joes with questionable character and weak moral fortitude used to change history? It’s incredible.  Prideful, lustful, fearful, self-consumed people have this encounter with an invisible God who dares them to live beyond themselves. As if to say, there is no excuse for you and me not to jump in the story.

Everybody is going to die. Few people really live.

Everybody deals with fear. Few people truly opt for faith.

Everybody goes to church. Few people ever become church.

Everybody says they believe. Few people actually try to move mountains.

So let’s go for it. As I sit here at my desk preparing for our annual vision meeting this weekend, my heart is stirred. I long to pour my life into the things that will pass the eternity test. I long to be a part of a movement of people who invest in things that will pass the eternity test. I long for us to subordinate our lives and possessions and desires for the sake our King and his call on our blood-bought lives. When we stand to give account for what we did with our freedom and our time and our possessions and our education and our opportunities, I want to hear these syllables: Well done.

Yet I often wonder if I have what it takes. I’m afraid. I often wander from the God I love. I’m sinful. I have doubts about a vision that includes realities I have never seen with my own eyes. I’m prone to worry about money, and human opinion, and the embarrassment of failure. It would be easier to settle for safe.

But something deep says, if we’ll go all the way, we’ll never be sorry. No playing it safe. No Christian atheism. No fear.

I beg you to pray with me that we will not settle. Pray for us to have wisdom. But then pray that we will have the guts to believe.

For eternity,

Mike Patz


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