Saturday, February 11, 2017

Managing Risk

I wonder how much of my life has been spent pursuing safety. I have recently come to the conclusion that not only is safety not to be our goal,  it can actually become disobedience.

Jesus promised that if we truly followed Him we would be treated as He was. He called those who put their hands to the plow and looked back unfit. Told us we needed to be willing to leave family, friends, homes to pursue Him.  Promised a life of rejection, difficulty, obstacles.  But He also promised a life of joy.

One of my favorite  Bible stories is one in which a rich man entrusts three of his servants with his money--talents, each according to their ability. To one he gave five, another, two, and the third, one talent.   After a long journey he returned and asked each one what he had done with the money.  The first had invested the five and  gained five more.  The second had also doubled his investment.  The master commended both of them, calling them faithful servants.  The third told his master, "I was afraid. So I buried your coin in the ground.  Here it is." Because he had seen his master as cruel and harsh, his goal became self preservation.

Interestingly enough, the master did not have compassion on the fearful servant. He didn't give him a big hug.

 It wasn't even somewhat okay.

Instead, he called him wicked and lazy, gave his coin to the first servant who already had ten, and called for the lazy servant to be punished. Quite an unexpected turn in the story.

The obvious parallel is that we have been given our lives as temporary gifts and expected to invest them into the Kingdom and other people.  We are not given the assignment of self preservation.  Our goal is not to spend our lives on ourselves.  We will be judged by the return on His investment.

So what does that look like for me, practically? Unlike believers living in persecuted nations, I may never be asked to give my life for His Kingdom.  I may never face starvation or torture because of my faith. But  it may mean I suffer ridicule in this politically charged country. I may have to swim against the tide of popular opinion. May have to at times risk offending others when truth needs to be expressed. I may be asked to give when it isn't convenient, put other's needs before my own.  Forfeit comfort to help another.

I read one time that the best way to live your life is to envision your own funeral and think about what you would have your family and friends say about you.  How will others be changed because they knew you?  What kind of legacy do you want to leave when you are gone?

The good news is that  we are promised safety as a result of spending our lives pursuing risk.  We don't have to manage risk ourselves--way above our pay grade.  The One who keeps the Earth spinning on its axis and who placed the uncountable stars in the sky promises to have our backs.

When I truly grasp this, my life will take on new meaning and excitement I never imagined possible.

 Sounds like a pretty exciting ride, doesn't it?