safety third

Recently, on one of the Wipeout shows, one of the contestants mottos was “Safety Third.”

It was funny. I’m not sure what his first two options were, but safety wasn’t first.

We, as a society, are consumed with safety.

We move to nicer neighborhoods so that we don’t have to be around people that we consider unsafe. We drive the newest cars we can afford (or not afford), so that they won’t break down. We stay in jobs that we hate because it’s about playing it safe and being financially secure.  We want our kids to be extra safe, so we shelter them and control them, making sure they’re not hanging out with the riff-raff or those kids over there (you know, the ones that are not in their youth groups or Christian schools).

We’re obsessed with safety. We play it safe. All the time. All over the place.

And, yet, Jesus is not safe. He’s the one who said if we follow him we might not have a place to sleep. And if we follow Him, we’re going to suffer for His sake. And a whole bunch of other un-safe things that we often dismiss, because His words are too mind-blowing to think He might actually want us to obey them.

So we make ourselves believe that He really meant those things that He said for those people a long time ago, that it doesn’t apply to us now, that we can continue to live our safe, untroubled, comfortable, materialistic lives and still follow Him.


But that’s not what I read in the Bible.

Jesus wants us–all or nothing now,  just as He wanted the disciples back then. Nothing’s changed.

The Bible talks about being lukewarm…trying to straddle the fence with one foot in safe world and the other in Jesus world. It doesn’t work. He’d rather us be all in or all out…seriously.

I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless. (Rev 3:15-17)

Does this smack you in the face? It should. It smacks me in the face.

Tell the believers in China or anywhere else in the world where Christians are disowned by their own families or thrown in jail or killed for the sake of Christ…tell them that they don’t have to be all in or all out.


What are we doing here anyway?

We seem to only want to follow Jesus, as long as he leads us to safety and comfortability.

This cannot be what Jesus died for…it just can’t.


There’s hope though…

So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet…. (Phil. 3:15)

 So, let’s hear it for cleared up vision and by all means let’s shoot for safety third.



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