Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

What are You Willing to Risk?

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I tend to be pretty conservative when it comes to risk. I can remember years ago when our church was still renting property and were looking to build a church building. Some of the church leaders were on one side of the debate, saying that we needed to take a risk and trust that God would provide the funds. I was on the other side, and though I certainly believe in trusting God, my mind was wondering how we were possibly going to be able to pay the monthly payment on the building loan. Another example is the investment strategy that my wife Tammy and I have. We would like to make a fair return, but we are not willing to take a high degree of risk with our money.
In all walks of life, I tend to take well thought out, or informed, risks. I gather as much information as I can to make a well-informed decision. Over the years, I may have frustrated some by not taking more risk, or making decisions more quickly, but that’s the way I approach significant decisions.One time I did take a risk with my career that worked out well for Tammy and I.   I took a chance and expressed interest in a higher-level position at work, even though I was very happy in the position I had. The new position was one that I would really need to build my skills for, through education and experience, whereas I knew my current position well, and enjoyed the people I worked with. I was quite conflicted, and prayed a good deal, as I agonized over my decision. In the end, I had peace taking the risk, and decided to bid on the new position, which I was selected for. Looking back, God blessed that decision in more ways than I can tell you.
Risk can mean many things to people. We shouldn’t take foolish risks, and at the same time, we shouldn’t be frozen into not being able to make timely decisions. John Piper, in his book Don’t Waste Your Life, defines risk as an action that exposes you to the possibility of loss or injury. John Maxwell, in his book Failing Forward: How to Make the Most of Your Mistakes, tells us that to achieve any worthy goal, you must take risks. He goes on to state that risk must be evaluated not by the fear it generates in you or the probability of your success, but by the value of the goal.
I read David Platt’s excellent and challenging new book, Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need. In that book, Platt recounts his trips with a few men on the Himalayan trails. On these trips, he and his traveling companions came face to face with men, women, and children in urgent spiritual need (those who have never heard of Jesus), and physical need (illness, disease, hunger, trafficking). Platt tries to get the reader out of their comfort zone and take action. Specifically, he asks us:
“What something needs to change in our lives to effect change with the hope of Jesus in a world of urgent spiritual and physical need?”
He’s asking us to take a risk with our lives. He challenges the reader by asking what if each of us really considered all the ways we might play a unique part in the spread of the gospel where it has not yet gone. A challenging question is what we should do with the wealth and privilege we have. He tells us that after reading the book, ignorance of the poor and of the opportunities we have to help the poor is no longer possible. Neither is indifference.
Platt indicates that his book has missed the mark if our lives end up looking just like they did before we read it. If we know that people are suffering both physically and spiritually like this, then we are accountable before God for what we do (or don’t do) in response. He writes that God has created our lives to count in a world of urgent need.
Knowing this, what risks will we take to meet these needs?

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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