“I am a risk taker!” That is the motto of Study Abroad Lithuania program.
Recently as I was riding a bus from Klaipeda (where my school is) to Vilnius (the capital of Lithuania) I read a book by my pastor called “Risk is Right.” The book is actually a chapter from another book of his that he has expanded. The book caught my eye for several reasons, studying abroad in general is a risk, my plans to backpack are risky, but most importantly the call to follow Christ will mean a life full of risk.
Risk is an action that exposes you to the possibility of loss or injury. In coming to Lithuania I am losing a semester of comfortability, familiarity, with friends at Bethel. I have now instead plunged into a sea of uncertainty and relative instability. Ultimately most decisions are made with a false sense of security. Often I told my mom before coming here that I was just as endangered every time I go for a spin. But that doesn’t mean I dive head first into any pool of opportunity.
The act of taking a risk is either foolish or wise. When the danger is not outweighed by the outcome then the risk is usually worth it. If the risk is merely for the self exalting purposes and for selfish pleasure then the risk is not just idiotic, but also sinfully destructive. If my motivation in being here is founded in some sort of lust for adventure, American heroism, or to build a courage of self-reliance, or to earn God’s good will through spiritual work, than I am on a path to destruction. My drive and motivation to take risks—again, action in which I may endure injury or loss— should be for something worth it, not some whim or boyish dream. My risks should be founded and grounded in Jesus Christ because He is of surpassing worth as the all-providing, all-ruling, all-satisfying God.
“Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God…” 2 Corinthians 3:4-5
When I find my sufficiency in Christ I can take risks knowing that my feet are firm held by His grace. I can take the risk of going abroad to study. I can take the chance of pursuing a woman. I can share the glories of Christ with a stranger on the bus or with a family member who doesn’t know Christ but knows my frailty and failures. I can apply for a a job. I can take physical, emotional, intellectual, relational, and spiritual risks when Christ is payoff, my fullness of joy and my pleasure forevermore.
The cost of being a disciple of Jesus means death. Death of pride, death of making my self look better than I really am, and death of a “comfortable life”. When Christ calls a man He bids him come and die. He says, “Take up your cross and follow”. I am risking everything if I am truly following Christ. But really, this is not a risk. I know how the story ends…
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Jim Elliot, missionary and martyr
HERE is the link to the book.