Are You Willing to Risk it All?
Many of us remember the name Evel Knievel. This amazingly talented (or amazingly dense depending on how you look at it) daredevil would risk his life time and time again to break records. Kenevil would suit up in his American flag attire and mount a motorcycle and jump long distances over cars, busses, and canyons. We would watch as this man would risk his life time and time again in over 75 motorcycle jumps over his career. This career included a jump in a steam-powered rocket that came up short and resulted in 433 broken bones, which landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records. The fact is that we watched him jump because there was always a risk involved. What would the point be watching a stunt, if there was no risk involved? We wouldn’t watch movies that we knew the outcome of and we complain when a movie is overly predictable. The fact is, we long for risk in our lives but yet we aren’t willing to risk, so we live vicariously through movies, television shows, and other people’s experiences.
From the time boys are young, they desire to be police officers, firefighter, cowboys, and soldiers because every young boy desires adventure. However, somewhere between being a boy and becoming a “man” we are taught to live lives of safety and to avoid failure at all cost. These men lose their desire for exploration and would rather sit inside and watch movies about other people’s adventures. Rather than being willing to try something and be willing to fail and learn, we would rather succeed without ever accomplishing our true potential. Now don’t get me wrong, I love movies and am a frequent Red Box customer, but our desire for risk cannot be satisfied through Hollywood characters and Evel Knievels around us. God wants us to live a life of risk, and we can see that evidenced throughout Scripture.
Boys need to step up and become men; girls need to grow up to become women; but we as leaders needs to show them how! There is a quote that says, “leaders can only take their followers as far as they themselves have been.” If we are not living a life of risk, then how can we expect our students to know what it looks like to risk it all for the cause of Christ? A common picture that I think of involving risk is the picture of Indiana Jones stepping out to find the Holy Grail. As Indy looks at the canyon, he decided to step out into the thin air and he is caught by an invisible bridge that spans the canyon. Each step he takes is yet another risk, but he keeps going.
Paul tells the Church in Scripture to “follow me as I follow Christ”, but if he wasn’t willing to risk everything, then this statement wouldn’t ring true to his readers. However, we find just how willing he was to risk it all in 2 Corinthians 11:24-29:
“Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. Then, besides all this, I have daily burden of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is lead astray and I do not burn with anger?”
We are called to be an example to those who follow us, yet we cannot be that example if we are not willing to risk everything that we have. When Alicia and I moved up to Pennsylvania to work at Lewisburg Alliance Church, we left everything we had and knew to come to an area where we felt called. We left a house and have still yet to find a place to live, even though we have been up here since May. We left our families too. We left our friends, but we knew our calling. It wasn’t easy to leave everything, but we knew and still rest in the fact that God is going to provide for our needs.
The reason young boys long to be firemen, policemen, etc. is because they want to trade risk for honor, and I would call you to grow in the maturity of a man or woman of God, while not losing the childlike yearning for something greater than ourselves. We must challenge our students and parents to chase their dreams and risk it all. However, we must also be willing to risk everything as someone who can say, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” We can admire the Evel Knievel’s of our day, but we must be willing to risk everything just as Paul was willing to do the same. If we want to see men who stand up to lead their family, we must challenge them to chase their dreams, risk everything, and trust God to provide.
Playing it safe is not an option. I want to reference one more familiar passage of Scripture in closing. In Matthew 25, there is a common parable of the talents. A master gives three servants an amount of money to use while he is gone in hopes of a return when he comes back. Two of the servants return a profit to their master; however, one servant buries the money and is considered wicked, since he wasted the opportunity that was given to him. He wasn’t chastised because he lost the money but rather because he squandered the opportunity and played it safe. We must risk everything if we want to be told, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Don’t be so afraid to fail that you fail to try!
Posted on October 3, 2011, in Leadership, Parenting and tagged Christianity, Church, Church Ministry, Family Ministry, Leadership, Parenting, Pastor, Religion, Risk, Student Ministry, Youth Ministry, Youth Pastor, Youth Work. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.