Ships Belong on Oceans

for the week of January 8, 2001
by Rubel Shelly

Caution, wariness, and prudence have their place. But their place is to play a supportive rather than defining role in a well-lived life. If these second-tier virtues are made primary, they get new names names such as indecision, vacillation, and fear. And these are hardly the traits of greatness.

Wise King Solomon warned against timidity in the face of opportunity this way: "Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap" (Ecclesiastes 11:4). Abraham Lincoln and Rosa Parks, John Glenn and Sally Ride, Jesse Owens and Wilma Rudolph, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Mother Teresa which of these people made fear the watchword for his or her life?

Want to do something meaningful with your life? Then you'll have to weigh your options with prayer and eventually risk something! The anonymous writer of this piece that has been floating on the Internet of late has it right . . .

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out is to risk involvement.
To expose your feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas and dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The one who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, and, finally is nothing.
That soul may avoid suffering and sorrow but cannot learn, feel, change, grow, or love.
Chained by his certitude, he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.
Only the person who risks is free!
Moses took risks. Jesus took still-greater risks. And everyone who lives by faith must dare to take some risks. The alternative is fear, paralysis, and death.

Humans are this much like great ocean liners: Ships in port are safe from storms, but that's not what ships are for.

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