Risk is… risky. How’s that for profound? We like sure things. When we invest out time, money, and energy into something we want to KNOW it’s going to succeed. It’s heartbreaking to put yourself out there, pour yourself into a project, or invest your life into something just to have it fail. I know. I’ve been there. In 1999 I sold most of what I owned, packed up my family, and moved to Ireland to plant a church. You know what happened? It was an epic failure… More on that later, but let’s take a deeper look at this thing we call risk.
Look at the great successes in our world and in scripture. Esther’s role in the deliverance of her people, Moses and the Israelites at the bank of the Red Sea, David standing up against Goliath. How about William Wilberforce against the slave trade, The Pilgrims coming to America, or any of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Today, we only read their stories from this side of their struggle. We hear about the victory. But to them, in that moment of engaging in a mission, they had no idea how things would turn out. They were risking everything with no promise of success. I’m so grateful they decided to risk it all!
I want to share a couple of things I’ve learned when it comes to risk:
If you want to do anything of significance, it’s going to require risk. From planting a church, to establishing new relationships, to reaching the lost, or helping the poor. From writing that book, to interviewing for that job, or preaching for the first time it all requires risk. There’s a chance for failure and we have to be willing to live with that because the moment we decide to stop taking risks we lose all potential for doing anything great.
All risk in God’s economy is worth taking. This one is tough, especially in a culture that worships security. We want to know that, whatever risks we take, we’ll still be able to live at the “standard of living” we are currently living at. I think, as Christians, we should be far more concerned with our standard of dying than our standard of living. We’ve been fed the gospel of success for so long that the idea of a venture not turning out as we hoped leaves us feeling disenchanted and hopeless. The truth is this: when we take a risk for the sake of Christ, whether we fail or succeed, it was totally worth taking.
1st Corinthians 15:58 says, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
NOTHING you do for the Lord is ever useless! What an amazingly comforting word! That means my failure to plant a church in Ireland was not useless. Something came out of it even if I never saw it. And truth be told, I don’t regret doing it. I risked, and I lost, but I also gained, and I’m sure there were people who were blessed along the way.
So go ahead and take that risk! Focus more on obeying God’s call and less on what-ifs. “be strong and unmovable”. Whatever the outcome, it will have been worth it!