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“Stay safe!”

I’m sick of hearing that phrase.

I know, people mean well. I’ve said it plenty of times myself. In this pandemic, we don’t want to see any more needless suffering and deaths. Millions of people around the world have lost loved ones.

This is all very tragic.

Still, I’m still tired of hearing people say, “Stay safe!”

Reminds me of another phrase I dislike: “Better safe than sorry.”


Teams that play it safe lose. Businesses that play it safe eventually close their doors. Churches that play it safe die. Armies that play it safe fail to protect the country they are called to serve. Men and women who play it safe never realize their full potential.

If we played it safe at Life Challenge, we wouldn’t have a program.

They say curiosity killed the cat. Caution kills the conservative.

A life well lived is about risk. It is about stepping out. Standing up. Moving forward. Taking chances.

Some may think me to be advocating recklessness or inciting rebellion. If so, you haven’t met me. I drive a minivan (4th one). I don’t eat red meat. I’ve never bungee-jumped. I play pickle-ball and read in my spare time. I’m borderline boring. (And yes, I wear a mask in public.)

I realize we are living in the middle of a worldwide pandemic that calls for extra measures of safety for the good of others. And yes, there are seasons in each of our lives which may require making safety more of a priority than at other times in our lives. I get it.

But safety cannot be the primary goal. Safety is desirable and appreciated, but it cannot be the determining factor in major decision-making. It certainly wasn’t for the early church. Had they played it safe, they would never have left Jerusalem. In fact, after Peter and John were arrested for preaching the gospel and then later released by the authorities, the church didn’t pray for their protection. No, they prayed, “Enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” (Acts 4:29). 

So let me tell you what I’d rather hear.

“Be bold!”

We can’t let fear hold sway in our lives. We’ve got work to do. We’ve got a mission of reconciliation before us.

Where would we be, had Jesus played it safe? He left the security of heaven “and became obedient to death—even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). All for our joy.

When the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land and God passed the baton from Moses to Joshua, he didn’t tell his young padawan, “Be safe!” No. God told Joshua three times, “Be bold!” Playing it safe would have cost Joshua and the people the glories of an amazing future God had planned for them.

Throughout your life, you will meet many people tiptoeing—playing it safe—just to arrive at death unscathed. Do not be one of them. Run, jump, skip, . . . or at least take a walk. Just don’t tiptoe!*

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. 
Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God
will be with you wherever you go.” (Josh. 1:9)


*A memorable line from a sermon John Piper preached years ago.


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