As we prepare to launch Harvest Community Church in Florida, this statement captures some of our feeling. I am not naturally a risk-taker. Some are. Some are wired with an incredibly high natural tolerance for risk. I am, however, striving to follow Jesus. Doing so assumes risk.
I think of risk as a willingness to put your time, treasure, reputation, or security on the line by committing to actions with the potential for gain but no certainty of success. Following Jesus requires faith. For me, faith is a knowledge and belief in the gospel which compels trust anchored in the nature of God and one’s position in Christ.
So I desire to have a high degree of faith and a high tolerance for godly risk. I find that I have to face numerous fears in this time of transition. There’s a fear of financial loss. We left a solid job at a great church to make this move. There’s a fear of failure. What if we don’t succeed like we think? Or what if I, in particular, am not up to the task? There’s a fear of family pain. What if our kids hate life and hate us for this move? There’s a fear of gators and hurricanes. Ok– maybe a little.
I am no hero. I don’t lust for adventure. I don’t believe I need to sacrifice to earn God’s favor. But I am compelled. I love this powerful passage from Romans 8.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The risk of this passage is real– think about “being killed all day long.” And yet the hope is greater. No pain or loss will separate the Christian from the love of God in Jesus.
So let me ask you what I’m asking myself: Is your love of Christ so centrally satisfying that you would gladly risk the loss of any other thing for the sake of following Jesus?