Our recent Sunday School lesson was about taking risks, taking big risks for God, for kingdom work. We are studying the Max Lucado book I mentioned a few blogs back: Cure for the Common Life: Living in Your Sweet Spot. Chapter 6 of the book is titled "Take Big Risks For God".
What does it mean to "take big risks for God"? How does one live this out? As I look at the two questions I just wrote, I am wondering 'Which of those two questions makes me more uncomfortable?' You know, I might could sit for hours reading and/or talking about what taking big risks for God means-- and feel good about it! But, to actually take a big risk or several big risks....uh, well, I don't want to throw my camel friend under the bus, but hey-- isn't SHE the one that God has called to live a life of big risks?!?!?! The answer is YES. God has called and equipped her. The answer is also NO. God has called and equipped each of us.... you and me included.
Okay, so is this new to me? Not really. Have I taken risks before? Hmm.... I think it would be more interesting for my "mirrors" in my life to answer that one. But, yes, I do think I have taken risks. Not just personal risks, but risks for God.
So, why does this bother me now? Most likely because God doesn't allow us to rest on our laurels, so to speak. God doesn't allow us to become comfortable where we are. God continues to draw us deeper and deeper into an intimate relationship. And that relationship requires risk.
Lucado uses the Message version of 2 Timothy 1:7 to open this chapter: "God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible." Hmm.... we are to be bold and loving and sensible with the gifts God has given us.
These words in the chapter spoke to me: "For fear of making the wrong kingdom decision, you'll make no kingdom decision. For fear of messing up, you'll miss out." (60)
Has fear ever kept you from making a decision? It has me. Many a time. At least for a while. Until I've recognized it (or someone has pointed it out) and I've been able to get over it or through it or by it. Is fear keeping you from making a kingdom decision now?
Later, Lucado encourages the reader: "Go out on a limb, he won't let you fall. Take a big risk, he won't let you fail. He invites you to dream of the day you feel his hand on your shoulder and his eyes on your face. "Well done," he will say, "good and faithful servant."" (60)
What does "taking a big risk" mean for you today? What does it mean for me?
I'll share one thing it means to me. It means re-applying for seminary as a M.Div. student at Asbury Theological Seminary. I took the risk of applying. Now to find two references and pay the application fee. I feel as though I have taken a step off of Lookout Mountain. Have I missed the hiking trail? I don't think so. I'm either "on belay" and rappelling down, Australian style (face first instead of feet first)! or I'm safely harnessed in with a licensed instructor in a hang glider. We'll see what happens. I'll let you know.
PS-- I have rappelled, though it has been years. I would love to do it again. I have wanted to hang glide since my 35th birthday, but haven't gotten around to it. A friend once gave me a "round tuit". Maybe I'll be able to take that and apply it to an adventure in the air!