“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” William Shedd
What are you clinging to right now that you need to let go of in order to move forward in your life? The only way to risk greatness is to trust God with all areas of your life. When we cling to our own goals or fears, we miss opportunities that would bless us and others. We miss the exciting adventure of living a life of faith and passion. God created us to take risks – not in a reckless, “Vegas, here I come” style but in ways that are outside our comfort zones and beyond our own agendas. He wants us to trust Him to accomplish incredible things we could never achieve on our own. In fact, Jesus tells a parable that provides real insight into divine investment strategy.
He compares God’s kingdom to a man who’s leaving for an extended trip and, therefore, delegates financial responsibilities to his servants. “To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.”
After he’s been gone awhile, the man returns and calls in each of his three stewards to give an account of their resources. The first two associates reveal their success, and their boss is overjoyed. To each of them he says, “Good work! You did your job well! From now on be my partner.” But, then, the third servant comes in and says, “Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.”
The master angrily declares, “That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this ‘play-it-safe’ who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.” (Matthew 25:14-30 MSG).
The master’s response to the third servant may sound harsh. However, ironically enough, this story reinforces the fact that God does not want us fearing Him in ways that inhibit our willingness to risk and grow. The third servant is so afraid of failure that he never even tries.
So often, we play it safe, satisfied with the status quo and justifying our conservative approach by telling ourselves it’s what God wants. But there’s room to grow in virtually everyone’s life, “From whom much is given, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48). C.S. Lewis said that, too often, we’re like children who settle for playing in mud puddles when the beauty and immensity of the ocean are just a few feet away.
What keeps you from risking the greatness that God is directing you toward? For many, it’s the loss of control, fear, or past failures. One of the striking similarities among the people I’ve known who were nearing the end of their lives is the way they faced their fears and took risks. Often, the things we put off only serve to keep our lives safe, comfortable, and mediocre. A difficult phone call to an estranged relative or loved one. A conversation with our children about what matters most. Asking forgiveness for something we regret doing. Acting spontaneously and living in the moment.
We miss so many moments, large and small, when we aren’t willing to break out of the pattern of least resistance and attempt greater things. But, if we knew our days were numbered and suddenly our priorities were clearly illuminated, it would make it much easier to hear God’s call and take the plunge. We wouldn’t be worried about what others think of us or what they would say. We wouldn’t be worried about failing or wasting time because we would recognize that regret would outweigh either of them. Isn’t it time to lay aside whatever is holding you back and step out, trusting God for all the unknowns, and experience the adventure of faith?
- If you knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you attempt for God?
- Make a list of the abilities, resources, and opportunities God has give you. Now, jot down how you think God would like you to invest them for His kingdom.
- How are you using the opportunities and gifts that God has given you? Offer all you have been given back to God for His use and look for ways to serve outside your comfort zone that would require God’s help to accomplish.