“Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.” – Matthew 14:29-32
There are a lot of people that are simply risk averse. They prefer to play it safe. Eleanor Roosevelt said that we should “do one thing every day that scares you.” Well that’s OK for her and others, but I don’t have a risk mentality. I like my current way of doing, thinking, and living. I like the status quo. That’s why at restaurants, I always order the same thing. Why try something new? What if I don’t like it? Why rock the boat and why get out of the boat? In fact, why even get in the boat in the first place?
I don’t remember reading Biblical passages that say “thou shall take risks” or “blessed are the risk-takers.” You are right, there are no such passages, however, there are a whole lot of verses on faith. And faith and risk go hand in hand. Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that: “And it is impossible to please God without faith….” The essence of growing in our walk with Jesus is growing in faith.
Faith requires risk. Without risk there’s no faith. But what if? What if I give sacrificially and I don’t have enough money for my needs? What if I embark on this venture on faith and it doesn’t succeed? What if I choose a different path and it leads to disaster? What if I fail? What if I misinterpret what God is telling me to do? It could happen. We are not the first people that have these questions and we will not be the last.
This is that risk that resonates with the mission of God. The Bible is full of risk. Noah building a boat on dry land. Abraham just going: “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8) Moses going to Egypt and telling Pharoah, “This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. If you refuse, then I will send swarms of flies on you, your officials, your people, and all the houses. The Egyptian homes will be filled with flies, and the ground will be covered with them.” The disciples feed 5,000 with a boy’s lunch. The Bible is full of risk.
But what about us? What about our lives? Are we taking a risk for the glory of God?
I want to make one thing clear. I’m not talking stupid risk, selfish risk, worldly risk. This isn’t the stuff of casinos and scratch off lottery tickets. This is being being in prayer and fasting to discover what God wants you to do and then acting on it.
- If I’m truly going to walk by faith, it’s going to involve some risk. Agree or disagree?
- How willing are you to fail in life? What do you dislike most about failing? How willing are you to fail in an attempt to honor God? If you could (a) succeed greatly and bring a little glory to God, or (b) fail greatly and bring a lot of glory to God, which would you choose?
- How does your faith affect the choices you make and the things you do? What have been the results of your greatest steps of faith? How have they caused your faith to grow?
- What commitment are you willing to make to put your faith into action?