The Crime of Living Cautiously

cafe.jpgNo, these are not my words.  Rather, this is the title of a book of poems by Luci Shaw.  The full title is The Crime of Living Cautiously: Hearing God’s Call to Adventure.  I’ve not read the book. But, the title would be worth the price of the book.  Maybe this is because I am so encouraged by people who refuse to live cautiously.


On Tuesday evening, Charlotte and I went to a dinner hosted by our local chapter of Christian Women’s Job Corps.  This is a fairly new organization in our area.  It is staffed by some very fine people.  Christian Women’s Job Corps is an organization that works with women who are in need of help so they can get a job and support themselves financially.  The women this organization works with are often poor, have no job skills or education, or have experienced other big hurdles in life.


These women go through a ten-week training program.  They are taught computer skills, life skills, interview skills, etc.  There is a daily Bible class as well as a time to look at their personal strengths and weaknesses.  Following this ten-week class, each woman has a mentor with another woman in the community for one year.


A number of their graduates, as well as some present students, were at this dinner.  Two of the graduates spoke.  I was struck by how many hurdles each one of them had faced and how they relied on God to get them through.  I mention this because these women refused to live cautiously.  Instead, they enrolled in this program and dared to risk. 


Risk is a part of our faith-walk.  Risk is a word I typically associate with people like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Risk is a short description of the lives of the people mentioned in Hebrews 11.  Over and over, the writer describes these people by their faith in God.  Their faith was not just the subject of a class discussion or sermon.  Rather, it was the story of their lives.


This morning (a Thursday), I am feeling "cluttered."  Maybe you can relate to this.  It is kind of like ordering a combo platter of feelings.


  • Some frustration.
  • Some fatigue.
  • A good sense of anticipation regarding the future.  A feeling of encouragement as a result.
  • A sense of satisfaction as a result of some conversations with a couple of friends.

Far too often, I have allowed whatever platter of feelings I have to rule the day.  If I am up, it is going to be a good day!  If I am down, it is going to be a not so good day.  If I have a mix of feelings — the combo platter, who knows what the day will be like.  Not a good way to live. 


I want to trust God with my day.  My feelings are real and they are important.  But, I don’t want them to rule as if they were in complete command of my life.  God — the living God — is active and involved in my life.  You and I both can dare to trust his care, his love, and his desires.  You and I can learn what it means to walk by faith.  Imperfectly?  Yes.  Inconsistent at times?  Yes.  But, we continue to depend on him. 


There is not adventure in living cautiously.  That can simply be an effort to remain in control.  Risk is all about trusting God — no matter how I feel when I begin my day.   

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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10 thoughts on “The Crime of Living Cautiously

  1. Jim: I recently read the following from an online illustration service. Thought it fit your blog. In his book Finding the Life You’ve Been Looking For
    (Harvest House), H. Norman Wright says, "Howard Hughes, one of the richest
    men of the twentieth century, was a good example of what can happen when we
    risk — and when we refuse to take risks. Hughes had a great impact on the
    aircraft industry, helping the United States maintain dominance in the sky
    during several wars. He helped establish the movie industry and influenced the
    entertainment industry. He gained tremendous power, and his power affected not
    only our country and society but the world.


    "Howard Hughes was a consummate risk taker for a large
    part of his life. But then he changed. He redirected his energies and became a
    fanatic, protecting himself against risk. He created a virtual prison for
    himself in his attempt to insulate himself from decisions, people, germs, or
    anything else he perceived to be a risk. He had accumulated billions, but he
    chose to live in a hotel room and vegetate until he died. He was a prisoner
    when he could have been free. When Howard Hughes stopped risking, he stopped

  2. Jim,Good post.  Thought I’d mention that Shaw’s book is not a book of poems, though she does have a new book of poems out also.  It is, in fact, a book about risk and a good one at that.  Thanks. 

  3. Jim, let me commend another book to you.
    In the Pit With A Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson is just out.  An amazing book also on God’s desire that we all be risk-takers.

  4. NOOOOO not aother call to live life on the edge… be risky……(spoken totally tongue in cheek)….after a life time of image management and looking for safety I see how living protected and yet risking everything in an unsafe world is what I am called to do…..

  5. Becky,Thanks for your comment.  (Even the tongue in cheek Nooooooooooo :))It is amazing how much energy goes into image managment.  Thanks again. 

  6. My wife and I are going through an experience of not living so cautiously. We are buying our first home. Our tendency is to be extremely financially conservative and very cautious with our money. This comes from our history of both our being married while both being in graduate school and working a total of 5 jobs at a time. There comes a time you just have to have faith and just trust that God will make it all work out.

  7. Matt,It sounds like you have a history of working very hard and using much wisdom in your use of money.  May God richly bless this time of your life with this first home.  I remember ours…