But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my
witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Edwin Friedman in his classic work A Failure of Nerve says this, “If a society is to progress, then safety can never be allowed to become more important than adventure.” His premise is that when a society becomes more concerned with playing it safe, not taking risks, over protecting the status quo then that society will not progress and therefore begin to fail. Because it is in risk taking, adventuring, pioneering, and innovation that a society moves forward. I believe the same is true of Christianity and the church. We have not done a very good job of living out the Great Commission Jesus gave us. We have played it safe rather than going on the great adventure that Jesus has invited us into. In this passage in Acts chapter 1 Jesus says He will empower us with the Holy Spirit, not for our own benefit but to empower us to be His witnesses. Then Jesus calls us not just to the familiar (Jerusalem) but to ones very different than us (Samaria). Jesus also says that we are to go the ends of the earth. Jesus has called us to a great adventure. He has called us to people who might be considered enemies, he has called us to travel to strange places, to eat strange food, to experiences different cultures, all to be His witness. But what happened? We are still Jerusalem! The same holds true for the church. Many churches don’t want to do anything to offend or disturb the regulars. They don’t want to do anything to offend or put off the occasional visitor who wanders in. So, churches grow slowly and anemically.
The problem, in both cases, safety. We fall into the trap of playing it safe. Not taking risks, not going on adventure, not daring greatly, not innovating. Jesus empowered us with the Holy Spirit, He told us not to fear. Now it’s time to adventure with God.
How do I start? This doesn’t mean you have to book a plane ticket to some distant place. It starts at home. The harvest is plentiful all around us, there are people different than us all around us. Start with prayer, give your fears to Jesus, and give Him permission to take you out of your play-it-safe zone. Start with having a conversation with someone different than you. Start with experiencing a culture different than your own (There are ethnic neighborhoods and restaurants all over Chicagoland). The ends of the earth have come to us.
Let’s not see it as the Great Commission, but rather let’s live it out as the Great Adventure, daring greatly. The greater the adventure, the greater the reward. Let’s lean away from safety and toward adventure, to be His witnesses. God actually created us for adventure! Take the safety belt off and adventure with God, empowered with the Holy Spirit.