Greetings are not always as straight forward as you might think. For instance, when I was growing up if one wanted to make a quick greeting as one was walking by, one might say, “Hi” or “Hello” or “Hey there!”. When I moved from my sleepy small town to the middle of the country, and then to a large city people would often offer, “How are ya?” as a greeting.
This confused me for a while. Where I came from, that was an invitation to conversation. So, I would stop and answer and begin to ask “How are you?”, but the person would already be moving away from me. To me, that greeting was a conversation starter. To the people I met it was another phrase used as a quick greeting as you are moving along down the sidewalk.
I moved from Montana to Colorado in 2003.
When I moved to Colorado, I noticed that people often ended their conversation with the phrase, “be safe”. I may have heard this before, but the frequent use of this phrase as a substitute for “bye” took me off guard. I chalked it up to hypervigilance in the light of 9-11 and Columbine, which had both happened within the last 5 years. I did not like the phrase though, because I think life Is less about playing it safe and more about taking risks and living life to the fullest.
These days, I am more safety conscious than ever. I have two little girls, and my wife teases me that I am a “helicopter parent” at times. I pray for their health and safety daily. Yet there is a large part of my that continues to believe that life is about more than “being safe” and “playing it safe”. It is about living fully, audaciously, and tenaciously in service of our Lord Jesus Christ, building his kingdom with passion and gusto.
There are lots of risks we are called to take as believers. Can you risk rejection by walking across a room and sharing your faith with others? Can you risk financial hardship by following the Lord’s call to give at least ten percent of your income away? Can you risk leaving a place of safety and going to a new place that is unknown for the sake of the good news? Will you risk persecution in order to boldly proclaim and live your faith in the midst of an increasingly secular world? Will you speak up against injustice, even if it costs you financial standing and reputation? These are difficult questions that call us to a deeper, more committed faith, and away from merely playing it safe.
Don’t simply seek security. Seek Christ and his will. And trust the word from Jesus which said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).