A few weeks ago I got lost. A wrong exit off the highway, a wrong turn at a roundabout, an “Uh-I’ll-try-this-road!” somewhere along the way, and voila! I pulled up at the end of a long industrial street in the middle of nowhere, in the rain.
Frustrated, I parked the car to consult the ever-handy Google maps — no Internet connection. I turned to the old roadmap under the driver’s seat. After struggling to remember how physical maps work, I finally realized that in 2002, the street I was on didn’t exist yet. Great. Still completely lost, but not one to stay idle, I turned on the car. Or rather, didn’t turn on the car.
It turns out old batteries don’t like sitting for 20 minutes with the headlights on (note to self). Fortunately, one of the factory workers was taking a break and kindly said he’d help jumpstart the car after his break, in about 10 minutes. An hour later I suspected he wasn’t coming back.
Thank God the rain ceased, and I connected with the local RACQ. Steve knew cars like I know chocolate (very, very well). He quickly spotted the problem and replaced the depleted battery. As he worked, a little sticker on one of Steve’s toolboxes caught my attention: “Safety…it’s not an option!”
I conversationally quipped, “However, danger and risk are — take your pick!”
I paused on that thought. The message of the sticker was, of course, that safety isn’t an option — it’s the only option. But I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me toward a deeper revelation: As Christians, safety cannot be an option. The New Testament reminds us over and over that we are in a spiritual battle (John 18:36; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:10-20; 1 Timothy 6:12; James 4:7; 1 John 5:4-5). It’s not a fight against people. It’s “a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels” (Ephesians 6:12, MSG).
If we are truly passionate about seeing our families, friends, city and nation won for Jesus, it is fruitless to sit idly in our cars, cautiously shining our dimming headlights into the wide expanse of the world. Eventually our spiritual batteries will drain from lack of momentum.
God has given us ample tools to “jumpstart” our lives into action: the church community, the Bible, the Holy Spirit. So what’s the drive that keeps us going?
I suggest the answer is found in Matthew 28:19. The word “go” can be understood as “as you go” or “on your way.” What Jesus essentially says is as you go through life — at work, college, family lunches, wherever you are — be making disciples on the way. A powerful vroom! and acceleration occurs when you pray for a stranger on the bus, lead someone to the Lord at work or share the Gospel with a loved one. We are commissioned for a mission: As you go, be making disciples.
Safety just isn’t an option.
Emma Austin lives in Brisbane, Australia, and is studying her master’s of theology, while working on her first novel and dreaming of future travels.
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