Story of the Day for Monday August 27, 2012
It’s Time to Cut Anchor
I have been in danger from rivers…danger from robbers… In danger…danger…danger…
2 Corinthians 11:26
No one ever accused me of being prudent, which is slightly disappointing, because it is, after all, a virtue. Prudence is just a starchy term for common sense.
Prudence used to mean, for example, that, if you go for a hike in the wilderness, you should take a sharp knife, dry matches, and a good crossword puzzle (in case you get lost for a few days.) Today, we view prudence as never daring to lace up our hiking boots. Might get lost. Might sprain an ankle. Might become grizzly bear poop. Better to be prudent, make a frig run, and plop in front of the TV.
There is a huge difference between common sense: avoiding senseless danger, and timidity: fearing all possibility of danger. Have you noticed how we, as a culture, have developed a heightened concern for safety? Nothing wrong with that, in itself, I guess. But something is wrong. We are becoming so fearful of danger that we are afraid to live.
Where is a ship the safest? In port. But, John A. Shedd put it well, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for.” God never advises us to be foolhardy, but he doesn’t want us to spend our lives docked to the pier. We are meant to sail into open waters, and both enjoy the gentle breezes . . . and brave the raging storms.
The apostle Paul was prudent. In Damascus, he knew when it was time to get out of Dodge and slip over the city wall at night. But, Paul also had the careless habit of preaching about Jesus and starting riots. He knew the danger, but took risks anyway.
A young shepherd boy, armed only with a slingshot, once marched up to the fearsome warrior, Goliath. Suddenly, the young boy’s mother rushed frantically onto the battlefield, screaming, “David! David! What are you doing! How many times have I told you not to fight giants without your safety helmet!”
Look, I’m not opposed to safety helmets. But haven’t you noticed that past ages possessed a valiant spirit that is lacking in our present day?
The patriarchs left the security of home – without itinerary, GPS, or even life insurance. Moses, Elijah, Esther, Jeremiah. Can you name anyone who did great things in God’s name, but chose personal security over danger?
Jesus told a story about a man who gave out various amounts of money, then left town. Apparently, those who put the money to work took some risks, because the one who did not later admitted to his master, “I was afraid, so I hid your money in the ground. See, here it is.” And there it was, safe and sound. But the point Jesus makes is that God does not entrust us life or talents so that we can “play it safe.” I don’t think Jesus wants us simply to exist. To just survive.