Every life is going to come into judgment. None of us can escape the inevitable outcome that we must give account to God for our lives (Hebrews 4:13). The worst thing we can do in response to this knowledge is to never attempt to do anything substantial with our lives for fear of failing. There are gifts that we were given when God created us and gifts that come to us as a result both of God’s common grace and His saving grace. We can do one of two things with these talents. We can put them to use and try things and take risks for God’s glory, or we can play it as safe as possible to ensure that we never run the risk of disappointing God with our failures–as if God was not for us! There is actually a greater long-run risk in not stepping out and attempting to do risky and meaningful things for Jesus. It’s the same risk that C. S. Lewis talks about when he says in The Four Loves:
“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
The things we do to keep ourselves from getting hurt and disappointed ultimately killing us. Self-protection becomes self-destruction. Playing it safe turns out to be the most dangerous thing you can do. Lewis goes on:
“I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God’s will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness. It is like hiding the talent in a napkin and for much the same reason. ‘I knew thee that thou wert a hard man.’ Christ did not teach and suffer that we might become, even in the natural loves, more careful of our own happiness. If a man is not uncalculating towards the earthly beloveds whom he has seen, he is none the more likely to be so towards God whom he has not. We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.”
Better to take the wildest and most irresponsible risks for a sincere motive without wisdom than to be the smartest self-serving self-preserver ever. Better to blow yourself away in some presumptious and reckless enterprise for the sake of love than to live a life shrunk down to the concern of perpetuating your own comfortable existence. It’s that cautious, careful smart self-seeking that leads to every kind of spiritual and moral poverty. As it says in Proverbs, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.” (11:24, ESV) Save your life, lose it. Lose your life sincerely, however unwisely, in the name of Jesus, and you will find it.