It’s not just the adventurous who take risks - every day and every relationship are made up of moments where we may fail or discover something new. Whether prefer playing it safe or like to live on the edge, there’s something we all have in common when it comes to risk-taking.
Good morning. Welcome to Faith Moments. My name is Odalis. I’m part of the pastoral team at Cornerstone SF. Welcome to this time that we have here together. Right now outside, literally outside of our window is this delightful rainbow. We caught sight of it 10 seconds before we went live here. I’m feeling so grateful to God for His promises. If you read the story of Noah’s Ark, we get to read the story of when God created the rainbow. When He placed it in the sky, a reminder to Himself and us that God keeps His word. He keeps his promises and it’s so good. It’s gloriously beautiful. I’m a little in awe and wanted to share that with us.
Today on Faith Moments, we’re not talking about Noah’s ark, although some of us were joking last week. There’s that cartoon about the ark sailing away. They’re on an island where the water is rising. On the island is a pair of unicorns. It’s a cartoon. You can look it up. It’s cute. Today we’re actually talking about taking risks. I was having a conversation with some friends that I wanted to share today. Before we do anything else, let’s pray.
Lord God, we welcome you here this morning. We welcome your presence. God, we thank you for who you are, that you keep your word. You keep your promises, Lord. One of the many things you have promised us is that you are with us and you are for us. God, for those who love you, we find you present, active, and we see you at work in our lives. We ask for your blessing and presence here with us in our conversation this morning. We pray these things, Jesus, in your good and beautiful name. Amen.
Are you a risk-taker? Would you call yourself a risk taker? I am not. Risk-takers to me are fascinating people. They are brave, bold, and willing to try things regardless of qualification on paper or even sometimes preparation. There’s that inner sense of confidence and drive. I think the riskiest thing I’ve ever done is skydiving, but to me, it still felt so controlled and prepared for. No, I’m talking about the people who in various aspects of their lives are willing to take risks, try things, and maybe fail. I’m not one of these people. I’m not inherently wired in that way. I don’t like to step into things where I am likely to fail or it’s even possible to fail.
I like knowing that I’m going to succeed. That is where so much of my human confidence is rooted. Rooted in the confidence that I will succeed as opposed to the confidence in knowing, regardless of success or failure, that I can take a risk and step out. Even with things that I’ve done a lot of times. If there’s still this aspect of risk that’s a part of it, I still hesitate. I still shuffle my way along toward it instead of stepping into it with more boldness or that bravery that comes with being an adventurous risk-taker. I do it with tasks, projects, and ideas. I do it in my relationships too. I often avoid the risk of bringing up the hurt, sharing the hurt, avoiding the risk of opening myself up to new things, or the risk of dealing with the conflict or providing feedback.
Not entirely of course, but I think sometimes we can find it easier to avoid it rather than stepping into that risk because you never know how it’s going to go. It’s easier for me personally to mediate other people’s conflicts. Solve other people’s problems than it is to deal with my own. The risk is more tangible within ourselves than helping others with theirs. So yes, a definite growth area for me. One thing I haven’t often thought of is risk-taking in faith. How there is an aspect of faith that is a risk. We’re putting our hope, trust, and confidence in something that we can’t see. It is something that is hoped for, but we have no certainty. That’s why it’s called faith. If we were sure about it, if we had proof, it wouldn’t be faith in that sense.
I think that there’s a part of me that’s sat with the thought of risk. I was having a conversation with some friends that sat and considered how this plays out than in our faith in real-time. Are we comfortable, confident, taking bold steps in our faith, believing God is who He says He is? Living out of that even if it is counterintuitive in certain circumstances. Sometimes one of the ways it shows up is; I love God and God loves this person, so I’m going to love this person. That is a bit of a risky thing relationally. In our faith as an exercise, a demonstration of our faith. The thing about our faith is that when we show up and say yes when we step into those places knowing that confidence is not set up on our own ability to succeed. It’s set up on the one in whom we have our confidence. We’re never let down. Hopefully, we know and if not, I promise you it’s true. We know that God’s not going to let us down.
We know that taking risks in the Lord in our faith is always worthwhile. It’s very human and normal to me, maybe for some of you as well, to still hesitate along those places. I felt especially challenged in this as things start to reopen. We’re doing a few more things. We’re having dinner parties again. We’re seeing friends we haven’t seen in a long time. We’re starting to travel and explore. We’ve spent a lot of time physically away from others and we need to re-learn how to be in a relationship. Relationships are so full of risk. It’s bound to be a little bumpy.
Last night I was having a conversation with some friends. We’ve been reading a book called Loveology together by John Mark Comer. He’s a wonderful author. I recommend all of his books. I’ve read them and I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed them. I feel challenged in my faith and I feel strengthened in them. So I do recommend it. But Loveology is all about Love. A theology of love, relationships, marriage, of all of that stuff. That’s not what this Faith Moment is about. Maybe we can talk about that another time. He has this chapter about dating. Again, we’re not talking about dating. We can another time. But dating is inherently risky too. Dating is so risky and challenging. It’s just full of risk.
Comer steps out of the context of the dating conversation to speak more generally. This is what I wanted to share with us this morning from Loveology, we’ll read together. “A vital part of becoming a man or a woman is learning to take risks, learning to fail and fail well. It’s true for love but it’s also true for education, for your career, the gospel, all of life. If we aren’t willing to take risks, we will never grow beyond an impoverished version of ourselves.” I’m going to read that again.” If we aren’t willing to take risks, we will never grow beyond an impoverished version of ourselves,” of who we could have been. If you want to learn how to ride a bike, you have to take off the training wheels and that means you are going to crash and burn. It’s going to happen but it’s worth it.
He continues. “As followers of Jesus, we are called to live by faith.” That means we can take risks. We live in a world where the tomb is empty and anything is possible. The gospel gives us the freedom to fail because we are loved no matter what happens, whether we succeed or not, whether the business venture works out or not, whether we get into that school or have to settle for second best, whether she says yes or he doesn’t return your call, it doesn’t matter. Our self-worth doesn’t come from any of that. Which means we are free to risk, to fail, to get back up again and try again. It’s okay. It’s this balance point here. This beautiful balance point where in faith, by the reality of the gospel, even though believing in it is inherently a bit of a risk because we can never be sure. Not till we die and when we see face to face or the Lord comes back for us.
There’s an aspect of that that’s a risk. It’s faith, by the leap of faith. At the same time, that very faith is what gives us the freedom, confidence, and safety to fail. To risk and try and fail again. To try, succeed, and try to take all of these risks. In our work, homes, relationships, the ones that are precious to us, and in new relationships. In our education and with that stranger outside, in all of our areas. The gifts that we feel we have that we haven’t explored are the ones we know we have that we haven’t really been able to put into play yet. The gospel gives us the safety to risk. It’s that parachute when you jump out to try. It’s always going to deploy. You’re always going to land safely when we risk. When our trust is in the Lord. He’s the one who’s there who’s guiding us through it.
My question for us is, are we playing it safe in our faith? Are we keeping the Lord at arm’s length? Are we keeping things back from Him? Are there parts of our hearts that we’re not showing to Him? Are there things we haven’t said yes to because we don’t know what will happen? Our faith in Jesus is our most important relationship. Again, even though there’s risk in every relationship, this is one where we will never be let down. He will never fail us. He will never disappoint us. He will never walk out on us and He won’t force us. The choice is ours to turn these areas to Him that He already knows anyway. He knows every corner of our hearts, every hair on our heads. He already knows the outcome of that thing He’s asking us to do or to change. it is always for our good.
I would love to pray together. I’d love to pray for the Lord to give us confidence. As we do, I want to encourage you to bring before Him those things on your mind and those things in your heart where you’re thinking, ‘I think God wants me to … Fill in the blank.” Whatever that area of risk is for you, let’s bring it before Him. Let’s ask for His guidance, help, courage, and strength to be risky in faith. Let’s pray.
Lord God, we thank you for who you are. For the inherent safety we find in you, God. We thank you that safety is not one that keeps things the same, Lord, but it’s the safety of knowing for the risks we take, the challenges we step into, the hard seasons, God, and the things we say yes to you. That the change that comes is in line with who you have always desired for us to be, for who you made us to be. God, you are intentional, creative, and all of these things that we have a hard time risking with you.
Lord, we thank you for your patience with us and we ask for your bravery in us. We ask for you to give us the confidence to step out to you in faith, hope, and love. God, remind us in these places of your unfailing nature, that you keep your word, that you are for us, and that your work is one that is more worthwhile than anything else in our lives. You care about all of it, so we bring it all to you and ask for your help, strength, and courage. We say yes to you, Jesus. We say yes to you. We pray these things in your good and beautiful name. Amen. God bless you. Thank you for joining this morning. We’ll see you next time.