Depending on the day it can dramatically affect my risk levels. Generally speaking, I’m happy to take risks, although there are significant times in my life when I’m risk averse. When I was a youth worker we took 20 of our teenagers swimming. I climbed the diving board and walked to the end of the long board. I’m convinced it was 300-feet up, but I’m sure it was only the usual height. I stood on the diving board and knew, the moment I stood on the edge, there was no chance I was going jump. The young people got the whole pool shouting: “Jump, jump, jump,” so with deep shame I climbed back down the steps and slipped back into the shallow end. To this day I’ve never lived this down.
Other times, I love risk. I love going on an adventure, going new places and I love going on my own. I’ve been out wandering in the outback of Africa and the Judean desert, I got to spend some time visiting Liberia’s Ebola treatment center on top of other things. I love to push myself to take risks.
The Bible at its heart is the story of risk taking.
God takes a risk to create the world.
Takes a risk putting people in charge.
He takes risks all the way through with broken people.
Takes a risk sending Jesus, knowing people may well reject him at the end.
I believe one of the riskiest things we can do is become a Christian. When we become a Christian we accept God is in control, we let go of our nature to cling on to things that make us strong and accept God has a better way.
Think about King David for a moment. He was King, he had power and authority, and people looked up to him. But still he realised a lot of what he had was man made. David realised that God was a tsunami of love, a powerful wind, a strong and mighty lion. David realises you can’t tame God, so let’s not be tame in our lives or in our worship.
God would not be worth worshiping if He was tameable. God is wild. God is this overwhelming, uncontrollable, holy untamable, raging love at the center of all things. Yet, at the same time gentle, pure, merciful and compassionate daddy.
I have a friend who works in finance. He often talks about risk in terms of investment. There are three types of financial risk.
Low risk, low return.
Medium risk, medium return.
High risk, high return.
With a low risk investment whatever you invest you will never get more than a low return. But with high risk you have the risk of losing it all, or gaining hugely. The high risk, high return is a gamble but could be everything you need and more.
David understood this not in his finances but in his worship. Sometimes in our worship we take little risk and so have little in return for it.
In 2 Samuel 6 (v4-14) we have a great story about risk. David’s bringing in the Ark of God back to Jerusalem. But rather than the priests carrying the ark as God has asked him, they built a cart for it and had animals pull it to Jerusalem. The ark slips and one of the men tries to grab it and he dies. Their worship had become controlled, they had tried to worship without challenge, with measure, risk-free and God wasn’t happy. Times passes and David tries again to get the ark into Jerusalem. But this time he makes sure he does things right. The priests carry the ark and with joy in David’s heart and wonder in who God was, he chooses to risk his dignity and dance his way into the city. David taking off his outer garments, keeping nothing but his pants on, dances like a mad man through the city until the ark reaches his new home.
The story tells us there were two main people watching that day. David’s wife and David’s God.
David’s wife didn’t even leave her bedroom that day. She sits looking out the window and with contempt in her heart and judges David. How could he let himself look the fool?
Fear of losing control had led her to hold everything back. It went wrong for David’s wife the moment she watched from the window, and it goes wrong for us the moment we don’t enter the room, or the moment we sit at the edge. David’s wife was risk averse. She didn’t want to be made to look ridiculous. When she challenged him his response to her was: “Think that’s risky? I’ll become more so”.
But there was another viewer of David’s worship. God watched and loved it. It was because David took the risk to look the fool that God looked upon him with blessing. It was from David’s family that Jesus was to come. David risked looking a fool to the world, but his foolishness looked like beauty to God.
David takes a risk. I want to encourage us to take some risks. My fear is we risk little and then become frustrated we have little. I don’t want to look back and be frustrated I only gave my faith half a look. I don’t want to spend my life entertaining myself with a half assed faith. I want to hear the call of Jesus to risk everything for him, putting every chip I have into the game.
David risks everything.
Michal risked nothing.
What about you?
Thursday Threads is taking a summer break! This will be the last post for a few weeks, but we’ll be back soon – look out for the next Thursday Threads on 1 September!