God calls us into risk.
Before I began my time at Ransomed Heart almost 15 years ago, I was toward the end of my 25-year building career as a home-builder and developer in Southern California. Our rather small company built in multiple sectors of housing, but we had become known for creating well-designed product for the first-time homeowner and low-income renter. Given our experience, I was asked by an association of some 50 city planning directors to come and speak on why building for sale affordable housing in the high priced real estate market of Southern California was so difficult. My opening statement to these government officials, some of whom we had to deal with in order to secure all land and building entitlements for our projects, was, "Blessed are the risk takers for without them there would be no projects."
This group of government officials often looked upon builders and developers with skepticism concerning our motives to profit, and lacked the understanding of the risks involved and the exposure taken to derive a profit. I described to them that we builders have to navigate through considerable risks in this marketplace, such as: interest rates, land costs, building costs, financial exposure, risk of being attacked by all kinds of no growth advocacy groups, environmental groups seeking to stop development, and local politics. I explained, that as a builder, there had to be a profit incentive in the face of the risks we encountered. Furthermore, while profit is necessary, it was not our only motive. We were also compelled to build a community that would meet a basic need of humanity and offer dignity, desirability, and affordability.
I think of the "Parable of the Talents" in Matthew 25, and the motives of the three servants who were entrusted property of the master. He gave them an opportunity to use their giftedness and enterprising spirit to risk and invest in order to bring gain and profit to the master through their efforts. Two of the three had a trusting and good relationship with the master; however, the third servant did not trust his master. He, instead, was fearful or cynical and not willing to risk.
What is God revealing to us as he asks us to risk? I believe he is asking us to love and trust his heart in the opportunities given us that require risk. I often wonder in the parable what would happen if one of the two good and faithful servants had a risk that did not pay off? As I think of our own situations, where we took risks that resulted in substantial monetary loss, (even after much prayer and reflection with God about the opportunity) I realize how God used those situations to teach us and love us into the direction He was leading us toward. It’s an example of Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
When I look back on all those risks that did not turn out the way I had hoped, I see that God used those in his love for me as a beloved son to bring such good things and great blessings far beyond the reward I thought I was seeking. Without the relationship with the Father, I can easily become the man full of fear or cynicism, like the servant who was cast into utter darkness. Our Lord is very serious about our taking risks from the place of our loving and personal relationship with Him.
So… "Blessed are the risk takers" for without them our world would be lacking much in enterprise, reward, and adventure. God requires we become risk takers with what he entrusts us in the context of being his beloved son or daughter.
Down the road, we'll discuss how motives do matter in the risks that we take and how they reveal so much about our hearts and our relationship with God our Father.