Taking Risks

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dear Linwood Friends,

I did it – something no responsible grandparent should do!  Our job description is to be the voice of reason, caution, and good sense.  We are the guardians of the new generation of our flesh and blood.  We are to protect and defend, not put at risk and danger!

But…I did it!  What have I done?  With the help of a good friend (who was also a co-worker/conspirator in the construction of the Treehouse a few years ago), I have installed a zip line on our property.  It starts at the Treehouse – actually above the Treehouse.  The zip line is attached to the tree about 28 feet above the ground.  You mount it from a platform on top of the Treehouse.  It runs 250 feet through the woods and across the meadow.  The ride is about 13 seconds long.

I will admit that there were moment s during construction when I thought, “This is nuts!  What in the world is a 66 year old grandfather of ten doing with a zip line???  There were also moments when Jan thought I was nuts.  But…

IT SURE IS FUN!!!!!  We had a ball the day it was first completed and 7 people, including three generations of Auburns spanning 63 years, went flying through the air.

Most of us have a blast with things that feel “risky.”  Why?  Is it because life is so boring that we need to spice it up every so often?  Is it an escape – a letting go if only for 13 seconds – of the cares and concerns we carry around?  I guarantee you that I did not think about any aches or pains or any responsibilities of any kind on my way down.  Is it just another little rebellion against authority, and convention, and gravity?

I would suggest to you that taking risks may be a part of what it means to reflect the image of God!   Does that surprise you?  It shouldn’t.  Being a Christian is not something that is just safe, secure, and reasonable.

There is no greater risk that you or I will ever take than the decision to put our complete trust and confidence in Jesus Christ.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is much about the Christian faith that makes sense.  There is a wealth of historical and archeological evidence that supports the claims of the Bible.  There are the testimonies of countless people of the past and present as to the reality of Christ and the difference He can make in their lives.  And yet, choosing to put your confidence in Jesus is taking a risk.  It is trusting in something that goes beyond explanation and beyond understanding.  That “leap of faith” that is often talked cannot be avoided – or shortened!

Is it reasonable in this day and age to take such a risk?  Does it make sense to take the leap of faith to Jesus?  Yes it does!

Paul Little wrote a book a few years ago entitled, “Know Why You Believe.”  He talked in it about the “leap of faith.”  And then he wrote something I have never forgotten.  He said (I am paraphrasing), “Yes, it takes a leap of faith to trust in God through Christ, but it is also a leap of faith to decide not to believe in Jesus.”  “In fact,” he said, “in many ways it is an even greater leap of faith or risk to believe that the God we know through Christ did not create the world, did not send His Son as our Savior, and has not provided for us for eternity in heaven through Him.”

If we choose not to believe in Jesus, we are risking our lives and eternal futures on something or someone else, and the chances are that is an even greater risk than embracing the Christian message and faith.

The point is that when it comes to matters of our religious decisions and convictions, everyone one of us is a risk taker.  We are trusting for our help, our hope, and our future in something beyond what we know.

I said that risking is a part of bearing the image of God.  Does God take “risks”?  You’d better believe it.  Think of the risk of fashioning creation and then giving humankind free will.  Think of the risk of sending His Son to this earth “in the flesh” and taking upon Himself the brokenness of this world.  Think of the risk of entrusting the work of His Son, the work of building His Kingdom, to the Church – to us.  God is a risk taker – big time!

I have great confidence in the God that I know and love through Christ – as my grandchildren have great confidence in the zip line in my backyard.  Yet, I know that there will be a day when I will know for sure whether or not everything I have bet my life on is true.  That is the day when God takes me from this world to the next.   Every once in a while I look around and ask myself, “Is there anything out there that looks any better?”  Those moments usually don’t last very long.  There is nothing that even comes close to what I have known and trusted in Christ.  I believe that He has indeed taken enormous risks for me.   I am more than happy risking for Him.

Blessings on you this week.

Yours in Christ,

Hu Auburn
Linwood Park Pastor

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