Taking Risks

By: Marcy Barthlette

We’ve all taken risks sometime during the course of our lifetime. Who hasn’t driven a little (or a lot) too fast, perhaps in our early years? Did we stop to think of the consequences to ourselves or others if we lost control? Some of us have left a really good job to follow our dreams and try something new. The lottery has been really huge in recent months. Some of us probably laid down a substantial amount against exponentially negative odds that we would win. Talk about risks, what about starting a family in difficult times.

Most of us make it through those crazy years of wanting to drive fast, but not all. Maybe that new job that looked so good from one side of the fence took on a new perspective once you were on the inside and maybe that was good or maybe a disappointment. The lottery? What can I say? I told you the odds against winning were exponential. And when we risk it all to have a family, I can’t even enumerate the possible rewards and disappointments.  

And then, there are smaller risks: going to the grocery store to pick up a few items, giving your sixteen-year-old the key to your car, heading down the road on vacation, planting a garden, making a suggestion to your boss about business management, digging through your ancestry and you never know what might turn up there. The list never ends. We take risks, seemingly overwhelming ones and just everyday run-of-the-mill ones, every single day. Risk is an inevitable part of life.

If you’ve watched PBS lately, you may have seen an ad for ancestry.com in which a woman says, “My family took risks…..big risks.” And 

she holds up her phone to reveal a photo of her ancestor by the name of Pillsbury, who risked boarding a ship to cross an ocean, with all its inherent dangers, in search of a better life. I guess his risk paid off, at least from a financial perspective. At some point in our family history, someone made the choice to leave a homeland and travel to a new place in search of something different. Not all enjoyed the success of the Pillsbury family, but success comes in many forms. And God’s rules are different than man’s expectations.

God took a risk. He sent his own son to earth to see if we would respond. Even the Son took risks.

Would we believe, follow and learn? What happens if loving us meant death? Would that end it?

( Partially taken from a Society of Saint Andrew devotional)

How did we respond? Well, in the beginning, we pretty much ignored Him. When He became an adult, He began preaching, teaching, and performing miracles. There were those who didn’t like the direction of His teachings and they certainly didn’t appreciate miracle workers. So they set about executing a plan for His ruination. They paid one of His own followers to betray Him, they tried Him in one mock court after another. They beat Him viciously, drove Him through the streets bearing His own cross, nailed Him to the cross, gambled for His garments, and tormented Him as He hung before them. And when He breathed His last breath, they thought it was over.

They were wrong! The future was just beginning! God took a risk on us but there is no risk in choosing to follow His plan for our lives. Oh, yes, we’ll still have troubles. But we won’t be alone. He’ll be right there in our pit of agony with us, offering support and forgiveness, and love. He’ll also be there to share our mountaintop experiences. The risk is not in acceptance, it comes in saying no to Him.

“Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.

Matthew 14:29

Most of our risk-taking probably did not reach the level of the one portrayed in the verse above and we know that because of his personal lack of faith, Peter failed. He’s seen his Master walk on water and like any young child, he wanted to do the same. Of course, he wasn’t a child and lacked the innocent faith of a child. He knew that men were not supposed to be able to walk on water and understood the danger he had placed himself in. All he had to do was focus on Jesus and he would have been home free. But he didn’t! When he took his eyes away from Jesus, he began to sink into the water. Then Jesus rescued him.

Over the next few weeks, the Season of Lent, let’s find some private time with God and tune ourselves into His plan for our lives. Lent is always an introspective time and sometimes feels laden with grief. We need to keep the end result in mind. Jesus’ persecutors thought the problem was solved with His final breath on the cross, but they were wrong! Jesus continues to be a “problem” today to all who choose not to believe or are still sitting on the fence. The factions that want to belittle His journey here on earth would have us believe He was nothing more than a teacher in His time and that the principles He taught are not applicable today. I would challenge that position. I believe His teachings are more relevant in our chaotic world than ever before. We need to listen, hear His word, and feel His hand upon our shoulders and His breath upon our cheeks. He Lives! He is real! And He loves us with a love we can’t comprehend. Reach out. Touch. Listen. Feel. You’ll find Him in ways you’ve never dreamed and you’ll never want to forget “Whose” you are.


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