“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
DOES THE TERM “CONSERVATIVE” HAVE A POSITIVE OR A NEGATIVE CONNOTATION TO YOU? The word means “tending to conserve” and indicates a wish to preserve or protect that which is presently being held. A conservative approach to something is an approach that wishes to maximize safety and minimize risk. And whether conservatism is good or bad depends on the nature and relative value of what a person is trying to conserve.
Conservatism is a good thing when it prompts us to protect valuable things that should not be thrown away. But there is a danger: conservatism often causes us to make safety our main priority in situations where other values should be given higher rank.
Imagine a baseball player who has reached first base and is considering whether to steal second base on the next pitch. Will he take the risk or will he play it safe and stay on first base? He shouldn’t take the risk foolishly, of course, but the worst thing he could possibly do is try to have it both ways at once. No player in the world can reach second base with one foot still safely on first.
In our lives as Christians, there is more to think about than mere safety. There will be times when we need to put ourselves at risk, moving at the Lord’s bidding into territory that is dangerous. At such times, we can leave safety behind in the confidence that the Lord will be with us every step of the way and help us with whatever difficulties may arise. God never commands anything that He doesn’t make it possible for us to do, so He would say to us as He said to Joshua, “Be strong and of good courage.”
We need to have a greater and grander vision of our lives in the Lord. We need to aspire to more than coziness and comfort in this world. The really good things almost always lie outside our comfort zones, and yes, they do involve risk. But a life without any risk is a life without any accomplishment, so let’s quit putting such a premium on safety. In the Lord, much more is possible than our safety-conscious thoughts have ever dared to imagine.
“Vision encompasses vast vistas outside the realm of the predictable, the safe, the expected” (Charles R. Swindoll).