Playing It Safe Is Not Our Mission

In the reading today, we see Jesus revealing his mission to the disciples: that he would die, and on the third day rise again. Peter, who was just praised and proclaimed “the Rock” for the Church, takes Jesus aside and rebukes him. “God forbid Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you”. Here, Jesus returns the rebuke: “Get behind me Satan! You are an obstacle to me.”

These words are so filled with meaning! First, we can all see ourselves in Peter. We can so easily go from feeling loved by the Lord and being champions of His truth, to suddenly thinking like the world does and not understanding God’s vision. Second, look closely at what Jesus says. Last week, Peter was proclaimed the rock which the Church would be built on. Now, Peter is an obstacle, a tripping stone on Jesus’ path. How did that happen? Peter put himself IN FRONT of Jesus (and became a tripping hazard). And while it sounds like the Lord is totally rebuking Peter and commanding him to go away, he is actually just trying to put him the right place; “Get BEHIND me”, FOLLOW me. It’s only when Peter (and we) follow Jesus, (and not try and put ourselves in front of Him), that we can call ourselves “disciples”.

And this is what we’re following Jesus into: Mission. Like Jesus, the individual missions in our life are not safe. Friends, the purpose of our life is not to live a quiet, small, safe life in a nice home in the countryside! There is more for us!

I have a friend who tells me, whenever we’re saying goodbyes, “Live dangerously”. To be honest, I’d rather not. It doesn’t sound like a great idea to live that way! You could get hurt, lose things, get yelled at by others, etc etc. But in some way, this is what Jesus means by “take up your cross”. We can also see Jeremiah responding to this idea in the first reading. He feels cheated by God! He follows God’s will for him and speaks prophetic words to people and only gets persecuted in return. He constantly preaches words of doom and gloom. BUT – he has no other choice! When he tries to keep it in, he feels a fire in his bones. He HAS to preach the truth!

What would happen if YOU lived dangerously? Will you go to the streets and speak to those who are homeless and abandoned? Will you actually give up your possessions and money, and focus instead on community and growth? Would you speak the truth in love to your co-workers, family, friends? Will you sacrifice your time and your ego for your families, and rebuild burned bridges?

In the second reading, Saint Paul tells us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, as an act of worship. He’s reiterating what Jesus calls us to do! If we’re only looking to save our own life (or just play it safe like Peter wanted to do), we’ll end up losing it anyway. But if we’re willing to lose our life for the sake of the Kingdom, we’ll find our TRUE life. We have to live dangerously, but also, as St. Paul says, live transformed, by the renewal of our minds. We can’t think as the world and as human beings do, but we must think as God does. How often do I default to a mindset of security, safety, and avoidance of risk and the uncomfortable. To live transformed is to do as God does: To deeply see others and make them feel known, to listen to the moving of the Holy Spirit, to lay down your ego at your job, in your family, everywhere; and to focus on the Kingdom.

So remember, playing it safe is not our mission.

Live Dangerously. Live Transformed. Deny yourself, carry your cross, and follow Jesus.


Songs for Reflection:

  1. For the Sake of the World – Bethel
  2. Called Me Higher – All Sons and Daughters
  3. Seek First – Housefires
  4. Build My Life – Housefires
  5. Champion – Bethel, Dante Bowe
  6. Fire in my Bones – SEU Worship

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Brendan is just your average Millennial hipster: He likes playing guitar, throwing frisbees, sipping whiskey, and grooming his beard. But he also has a passion for walking with teens and young Christ-followers, hearing every person’s story, and waking up the Church. Brendan works at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Lenexa, Kansas (near Kansas City) as a Youth Music Minister, fusing together his two loves of sharing Christ and sharing the power and need for good and beautiful contemporary praise.