So my husband called this morning to tell me that my digital gas gauge read zero-miles- remaining when he got to the end of our driveway this morning on his way out. I knew that, though. I live life on the edge about some things. (I’ve actually put it to the test before and I know that my Honda Pilot gauge gives a little grace…at least two miles once it’s reading zero….And, to be honest, I was coming home from the doctor, where my flu test had yielded a positive reading, when I realized I was almost out of gas, so, in my physically compromised state, I thought it was worth the risk.)
Some things are worth the risk. It’s worth the risk of an extra pound or two to give yourself permission to splurge on a cupcake now and then. It’s worth the risk of being a minute or two late to the soccer game when you see a yard sale that calls to you. It’s worth the risk of getting stung by a bee or bitten by an ant to go on a picnic with your kids. And it was worth the risk to me to try and make it home to my bed, even though I knew there was a small possibility that I’d get stuck on the side of the road.
Some people, though, take spiritual risks and spiritual risks are never worth it. I know parents who know they could be helping to insure that their kids don’t fall away from the church. They could be having family Bible time each day or getting their kids involved in ministering to the elderly. They could be participating in Bible Bowl or Lads to Leaders. But they are willing to risk their children’s faithfulness on a mere three-times-a-week type religion. Big risk (In fact, it’s doubtful, even if their children emerge with the same kind of faith as their parents have, that this weak faith will weather the storms and reserve them a place around the throne.)
I know people who gamble with the calendar. They understand that they are outside of the fold of safety—lost— and they intend to do something about that…later. They fail to understand the risk of early death, the possibility of the coming of the Lord, the lack of desire they may have to obey…later. Big risk.
I know people who take big spiritual risks in their marriages. Years slowly pass and husbands and wives grow apart, finding fewer and fewer common interests and more and more opportunities to be apart. Communication becomes strained and there are few intimate and tender moments. Marriage takes commitment and work. When one fails to commit to do marriage God’s way, the risks are of phenomenal proportions. They include the occurrence of extramarital sexual fulfillment, the dissolution of the marriage and home, the psychological and spiritual damage to children and the eternal loss of multiple souls. Big risk.
I know those who have been influenced by others to take risks of addiction. Every first alcoholic drink is a risk. Every first drug use is a risk. Every first purposeful pornography use is a risk. In short, every addiction begins with a first use. That first experimentation is a big risk.
It’s amazing to me that we live in a culture in which people are not about taking risks with health, or physical safety. Organic, free of preservatives or additives, free of harsh chemicals, safety belts, safety buckles, safety harnesses, safety recalls, the National Safety Council etc…etc…are all words and phrases we hear multiple times each week. It’s got to be a good thing when we heighten our awareness about health and safety. But how often do you hear “He has lung cancer and he never smoked a day in his life.”…Or…” She was killed instantly although she was wearing her safety belt.”…Or…”She was so health conscious. I can’t believe she had a heart attack.”
The point is this: Physical risks are sometimes just not truly calculable. We can do our best, but still not be prepared for what may be around the corner, health-wise. Spiritual risks are more calculable. Every one of us is headed for death. Death is not probable. It is not likely. It is not predicted. It is certain. Why would we not prioritize the spiritual safety measures that are at our disposal? Since it is certain that there will be a day when they will be of ultimate importance, why would we not want to minimize the risk of eternal tragedy in every way possible.
One hundred years from now, it will matter very little whether my house contained an asbestos residue, or whether all the safety recalls were done on my vehicle. It will not matter much whether my eggs were organic or cost-effective. It will not matter much if my kids took antibiotics occasionally or depended entirely on herbal remedies or other homeopathic or eastern medicines.
Please do not think this a critique on moms who are making the best health choices they can possibly make for their families. I know that’s a good thing. But we all would do well to compare the measures we take for health and safety to those spiritual measures we take daily for eternal health and safety. There’s so much about physical health that’s beyond our control. Thank God that physical health is passing and the kind of eternal well-being that we CAN control is forever.
Don’t take unnecessary and irresponsible risks with the health of your family. More importantly, don’t cut corners spiritually. Do every thing you can to insure that every member of your family is anchored in faith…ready for the inevitable passage from life to eternity.
“…it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27).