By Keith Spurgin
Keith Spurgin is Senior Leader of NewHope Church in Wylie and President of The Growth Resourcing Group
We live in an incredibly safety-conscious society. It seems like everywhere we go and every time we listen to media there is a story about national security, new safety policies, or devices to keep us protected. We even have a government agency called The National Safety Council that spends millions trying to keep us all free from harm.
I get it! Nobody wants to be hurt unnecessarily. Unfortunately, you can’t regulate danger or risk completely out of our lives. Jesus said it this way, “In this world you will have trouble.”
The problem with this fetish for safety is that it causes us to live incredibly cautious lives. Even people of faith get caught in this. We pray safe prayers like:
God keep me safe
God help everything to go smoothly
God help me to get this girl
God help me to get rid of this guy!
There’s nothing wrong with those prayers; they’re just, well, safe. God becomes little more than what I call, Santa Claus God – God, give me what I want and keep me safe. If you’ll do that I’ll live for you.
What happens to our faith when this mythical god doesn’t do what we want, or a child dies, or we suffer?
What if, instead of simply safe prayers, we also prayed something more like this – God do whatever you want with my life!
I’ll be honest, that’s a bit scary. But think of the alternative; stagnation, no growth, boredom. If you want your life to look the same next year, as it looks today, then don’t pray this prayer. If you want your life to look the same in 10 years, as it looks today, don’t pray this prayer. If you want to get to the end of your life and say, “Wow, my life could have been so amazing, but it wasn’t” then don’t pray this prayer.
Mythbuster Alert: Here’s the thing, the world and people are not stagnant or safe. So, if your goal becomes safety and security, you are going to be disappointed over and over. You might as well take some risks! If you don’t engage the adventure, you’re going to miss out on some of the best things in life.
The problem with a risk-free life is it’s also a passion-free life, because without risk there is no passion.
When we started New Hope I prayed this prayer – God do whatever you want.
I had in mind what I wanted him to do – Make the church awesome, successful, me famous…Oh yeah, so we can help others!
I went on a 2 week fast; and that’s when I genuinely prayed, “God do whatever you want. If one person’s life is changed it will be worth it!”
We went through some tough times – When we started we met in the Wylie Opry which was wonderful but had lots of challenges: our childcare facility got shut down by the Fire Marshall, our Kid’s Ministry trailer was stolen one weekend and we didn’t find out until Sunday morning, some people in Wylie thought we were a cult, one of our key leaders tried to split the church, we were criticized because we don’t fit the typical church mold, we have people of every color and political persuasion, and I could go on. All of that has happened while thousands of people’s lives have been impacted and changed for good, marriages have been restored, families brought back together, and leaders empowered to make the world a better place.
Nothing great happens playing it safe. Take a risk and enjoy the ride!
One of my mentors had this quote hanging in his office:
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter Thompson (Author).
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