Friday, April 17, 2009

The Gospel and Risk Taking

Risk taking - it's exposing ourselves to the possibility of loss or injury for the sake of gaining something of great worth.

The truth is that most of us are averse to risk - we hate it, we avoid it, we mitigate against it. We do everything we can to eliminate it. "Risk avoidance" is the secret idol in the hearts of most middle class Christians, myself included. We play it safe. We're not inclined to put our 401(K) plans at risk, much less our physical well being. We're so concerned about fitting in at the workplace that we're blending into the background. No risk of us being perceived as an irrational, fanatical Christian.

Yet, God calls us to pursue him whatever the cost. In fact He demands it. He calls us to do hard things like start God-glorifying ventures, take on risky projects, write books, share the gospel with our unreceptive co-workers and impact the world around us even at the cost of our reputations, money or in extreme cases, our lives.

Because of the gospel, Christians are better positioned to take risk than anyone else - we have the least to lose and the most to gain. Here's how the apostle Paul viewed his life in terms of risk and loss -

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him...

Philippians 3:7-8

His capacity for risk taking was enhanced by two factors - counting what he had as loss and counting what he stood to gain as immeasurable treasure. May God help us do the same.


Jimmy said...

the timing of this post (for me) is an evidence of God's fatherly care of me. thank you. i read, in my devotional time today, from Acts 7 about Stephen. talk about risk and sharing the gospel to an unresponsive crowd.
anyway, the text in your post has always been a challenging and convicting one and I need the reminder that my "counting" is so bad. The Sovereign One surly is the one that i should be focused on pleasing and extolling and the one of inestimable value.
Tomorrow i leave home for business travel and i will carry this post and text with me, praying that God will be elevated in my thinking and doing. That the trappings of this world will fade. i pray that i will risk others opinions and share the gospel and extend the love of Christ where possible.
if you think of me, i would covet your prayers
thanks again for your faithful and helpful posts

Every Square Inch said...

Jimmy - thanks. Most of us can identify with honest response.
May God help you on your trip to be aware of His presence, to be faithful and bold as an ambassador for Christ

Ted M. Gossard said...

Excellent thoughts here.

Yes, we need to take such steps of faith. Or maybe we need to question our faith if we don't.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I found your comment so helpful yesterday, that I posted it today.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Yes, I'm becoming more and more aware, as the job search becomes more "focused" because the final days of employment draw near, just how "safe" I like things. So many people think of me as bold and they are so wrong. I like to know what is going to happen - and when. I like to know I will be "safe" - whatever that means. I like for people to think well of me and even worry about why they would label me as bold. Good reminders ESI - good indeed to remember we were not called to be anything but sojourners.

Every Square Inch said...

Susan - we all tend to safety but we're called to be sojourners here as you pointed out...may God help you even as you pursue the next adventure He's prepared for you