Playing It Safe is Weird

Fruit cups. Face masks. Freedoms. They don’t seem to have much in common, but they all came across my path yesterday and reminded me that a life that plays it safe is kind of weird. Playing it safe is like sleeping through life, you miss way too much.

From Joe Verses The Volcano

Fruit cups. This week is mayhem at our little community church. We are in the week of VBS – vacation bible school. And with about 100 kids, 50 workers, and one truly weird pastor – it is a blast. And we’re feeding every one too. Much planning is going into the meal prep. We are doing grab and go bags, doing our best to keep social distancing on tables, and have all we can presealed and prepacked. Daily the workers prepack the 175 bags with some items for the next day.

And yesterday, fruit cups were being put into the bags. But I noticed a problem. The cups were outdated – they had a “best by December 2019” on the side. Oops.

Debate followed on the terms “best by’ and “sale by” and “expired,” No one volunteered to taste it. The food supply company said they were fine and this is a normal practice (eight months past, really?).

I tried to get my secretary to taste them, like Nehemiah – be my cupbearer and prevent poison from ever getting to my lips. If she got sick, we wouldn’t give them to the kids. She refused. Eventually we conned our local fire chief to try them. Tasted a bit weird he said.

So they were replaced with some apples. Five boxes of fruit cups … wasted. There was no taking chances. We played it safe.

Face masks. Yeah I know the debate is touchy. Wear, don’t wear? Is it mandatory or suggested? It’s not a law but they have given store owners permission to call the police if you don’t. I’ve seen mask shaming on non-wearers. It’s a weird time.

And in my rural town, many wear them to Kroger’s or Walmart, but not eating establishments. Church seems to be a location wear the mask protocols seem to be very lax as well.

So we play it safe on fruit cups but not face masks. Where do we draw the line?

These masks don’t help

Freedoms. You can gather to “protest” but not to worship. You can shout anti-Trump/anti-Biden/anti-anything and march, but not sing in worship. You can carry guns but not use them to protect your property from a mob. You can write whatever you want on Twitter or Facebook but if we don’t like it, we will cancel culture your life to oblivion.

So most of us just hunker down and play it safe. I don’t really like to talk politics anymore, and prefer discussions on grace rather then race. I try to stay non-confrontational. But is that the best thing to do?

I believe we were created to be risk takers and live life of adventure. But we were also created to grow in wisdom, thus knowing when to play it safe and avoid danger. We thrive in challenges and shrivel in routine.

One of my favorite movies is Joe Verses the Volcano. Truly weird. And there on the volcano rim, Meg Ryan tells Tom Hanks, “we’ll jump and we will see, that’s life.”

And in many ways (of course not in ways that endanger the health of our kids) but in most of life, we need to take those leaps of faith, to move into the dark path knowing he is with us, to go through the valley of the shadow of death without fear, and to stop playing it safe.

  • Talk to that new person that moved in last month
  • Apply for that new job
  • Try new hobbies, hike new trails, taste new meals
  • Adventure into new areas of ministry
  • Sing new songs in worship
  • take a road trip with no real destination
  • Stop playing it safe all the time – wake up

And I truly believe – if for no other reason than just the satisfaction of taking a risk – I believe you’ll enjoy it , maybe a whole lot!





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