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Friday, December 6, 2013

Risky Business

When it comes to taking risks, how would you describe yourself?

a. impulsive—quick to step out
b. cautious—testing the water first
c. apprehensive—scared to death
d. procrastinating—putting it off

What is the relationship between risk-taking and faith?

a. There is no relationship.
b. It's okay to be a risk-taker if you have faith in Christ.
c. Risk-taking is good if you have faith in yourself. 
d. A life of faith is a life of risk-taking.

(Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Editon, page 1361).

The fundamental issue with risk-taking is arriving at the proper perspective. As people approach retirement age they often make up a “bucket list”— a listing of all those things (some often outright risky) that they have always wanted to do but haven't. They pledge on retirement to do all these things. The reason that many items—heretofore thought too risky—are now acted upon is the realization of the risk of approaching death that would preclude doing them. In short, the risk of doing the items on the list now is outweighed by the risk of death and not being able to do them at all.

In our national economy we must address the limitations of capitalism alone to achieve a just distribution of wealth. Many think this is too risky a task to take on. For those who envision fatal consequences if the risk of change is not accepted, the risk of inaction far outweighs that of action.

We often run into opposition for change and the opposition is couched in terms of risk. We don't know enough to act; all the elements requisite to action are not in place; the proposed plan is not yet perfected. In the Birmingham jail MLK was cautioned against what was seen as hasty action. MLK envisioning the certain disaster that would ensure if greater justice was not found, found that the risk on inaction far outweighed that of action.

A basic level of faith is necessary to proceed under conditions of uncertainty. As we inevitably must occasionally throw dice after consulting our best lights, we thankfully have a God who doesn't.

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