Jesus Values Risk: Don’t Chug the Jug

July 15, 2013

Risky MouseIn our last Jesus Values post we discussed Next Steps. Whether large or small, Jesus smiles when we take steps closer to Him. Often these next steps involve Risk. It’s risky to invite a friend to go to church with you. What if they say no? What if they think you are a judgmental, hypocritical, born-again, nut case? What if they simply laugh and walk away?

What if they say yes? They come to church, hear a message of grace and love, give their lives to Christ and a marriage is restored, a broken relationship mended, family is healed and more importantly a current and future generation restore their relationship with God?

There is a story about a man crawling across the desert and he comes to a rusty old pump with a little glass jug of water with a lid on it and a piece of leather parchment. He grabs the jar of water and just before the drinks it, he reads the parchment which says, “Stop! Don’t drink this. Use the water in the jar to wet the leather gasket on the pump. Then you can pump as much water as you like for drinking. Then fill the jar up and leave it with this note for the next traveler.” What is he supposed to do? Trust that the note is true and follow it’s directions? Or drink that water he found?

For our purposes there are two factors to Risk… the likelihood of a negative result and the severity of the negative result. We don’t consider it risky to step off a curb because the likelihood we will twist our ankle is small and the likelihood we will actually break our ankle (a very negative result) is even smaller. Compare that to the story to the right.

Obviously, the potential downside is huge. To use your only water to prime the pump has huge consequences. If it doesn’t work, you’ve lost what little you had. But if the note is true, clearly the positive benefit is huge. So the question we really have to deal with is the trustworthiness of the note.

If you know the landowner and recognize his handwriting, you know he is good at maintaining equipment and knows desert survival skills, you may feel the risk is not that great and take his advice. On the other hand if you don’t, you are more likely to just chug the jug.

In our case if we’ve made Christ our Lord, we know who wrote the note. When Christ calls us to take a Risk we should realize His call is worth it. He loves us so much that He sent His very Son to die for us. Would He abandon us now? Sometimes it seems like it, but that’s not true. Taking Risk with and for God is safer than playing it safe.

Let’s look at just a few of New Life’s risks:

  • Sending 2 of our 3 staff members to plant a church when we were barely stable.
  • Continuing to send beloved staff members to plant churches every few years.
  • Going multi-site and sending key leaders and resources to start new campuses.
  • Putting offers on the “Bud Building” knowing it was Way Beyond our means… ultimately spending $11,000,000 to build the nZone.
  • Hiring Mike Fewster… need I say more?

But each of these risks was bathed in prayer and weighed against the risk of disobeying God. Had we not planted our first church I’m convinced we wouldn’t have been able to effectively develop a national church planting ministry that has touched thousands. It wasn’t our plan. In hindsight it was clearly God’s. Had we not built the nZone there wouldn’t be nearly 250 kids in camp today seeing our signage, interacting with our staff, being loved by God even if they don’t yet understand that’s what that is.

chug So when does Risk actually become risky? When you do it without God. With God it’s simply obedience. It isn’t risk… it was obedience when Abraham left his home and it was obedience when the disciples chose to leave their nets to follow Jesus. It’s the same today. It’s not truly risk to obey Christ. The true risk is when we ignore the note on the pump. When we don’t trust He who wrote the note. When we do it our own way and disregard He who created the universe and died for us.

Don’t chug the jug. Take the risk.

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