Take a risk and you can lose money, lose face, lose
your health or even your life. You may endanger
others too. Will a wise and loving person, then, ever
take a risk?
It depends. Of course you can throw your life away in
a hundred sinful, wasteful ways. But losing your life is
not always the same as wasting it. It’s not always wise
to play safe. What if a successful risk would bring
great benefit to many, and its failure only harm
There are no risks for God – he knows the outcome of
all his actions. But not so with us. You don’t know if
your heart will stop before you finish reading this
page. You don’t know if you’ll have a head-on collision
this week. Risk is woven into the fabric of our finite
lives. We cannot avoid risk even if we want to. Safety
is a mirage. Sometimes the fear of making a wrong
decision can be paralysing but that serves no one. It
is cowardly. Risk is the only way forward. Risk
avoidance can sometimes be more sinful, more
unloving than making a wrong decision out of faith
Esther is an example of courageous risk for the sake
of others and for the glory of God. Her uncle asked her
to go before the King of Persia and plead the case of
her people. She knew the royal law that anyone who
approached the king without permission risked
being put to death. But she also knew her people’s
lives were at stake so she replied ‘I will go to the king,
though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish’
(Esther 4:16). She did not know what the outcome
would be. She had no special revelation from God.
She had to run or risk. She made her decision on the
basis of love for her people and faith in God, and
handed the results over to him. Risk was right.
Another example is Shadrach, Meshach and
Abednego, threatened with the fiery furnace if they
did not worship the image the king had set up. They
replied ‘the God we serve is able to save us . . but
even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that
we will not worship the image you have set up’
(Daniel 3:17,18). This was sheer risk. They did not know
how it would turn out. They made their decision to
risk rather than run, and handed the outcome to God.
And that was right. It is right to risk for the cause of
The great risk taker of the New Testament was the
apostle Paul. Every day he risked his life for the cause
of God. The roads weren’t safe. The cities weren’t safe.
The sea wasn’t safe. His own people, the Jews, weren’t
safe. The Gentiles weren’t safe. He had two choices: to
waste his life or to live with risk. His answer: ‘I consider
my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the
race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given
me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s
grace’ (Acts 20:24). The Christian life is a call to risk.
Jesus made that clear when he said ‘You will be
betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and
friends, and they will put some of you to death’ (Luke
21:16). That word ‘some’ puts the earthly life of the
disciples in great uncertainty. That’s risk! It’s the will of
God that Christians will be uncertain about how life
on this earth will turn out. Therefore, it is the will of
God that we take risks for the cause of God.
What happens when God’s people try to live in the
mirage of safety? The people of Israel were on the
edge of the promised land but refused to enter. They
wanted to go back to Egypt – the mirage of safety.
Not even Joshua could arouse them from their
dream world of safety (Numbers 14:17-19). The result
was thousands of wasted lives and wasted years
because they would not take the risk of battling the
giants of Canaan. How much is wasted when we do
not risk for the cause of God!
The secret of such risk taking is faith in the all-
providing, all-ruling, all-satisfying Son of God. The
strength to risk losing face for the sake of Jesus is the
faith that God’s love will lift up your face at the end.
The strength to risk losing money for the cause of the
gospel is the faith that we have treasure in heaven.
The strength to risk losing your life in this world is
faith in the promise of life eternal.
So what about you?
Are you caught in the enchantment of
security? paralysed from taking risks for
the cause of God?
or have you been freed by the power
of the Holy Spirit from the mirage of
safety and comfort? Do you ever say with Esther ‘For
the sake of Christ, I’ll try it! And if I perish, I perish’?
This article is taken from the book ‘Risk is
Right’ by John Piper – a great little read.