That word has haunted me for the last several days. Really since Saturday. This past weekend I attended an event hosted by New Wilderness Adventures, which focused on leading men to draw closer to Jesus through outdoor adventure. The trip was beneficial in a myriad of ways, but that four letter word, “risk,” continues to cause my heart and mind to stir.
On Saturday, Greg Sailors, the director of New Wilderness Adventures, told us to leave the lodge and take a physical risk. So we did. Some climbed a mountain. Some went into the cold water of the Green River. I climbed a tree. Climbing trees is something I haven’t done in probably thirty years, needless to say, it was a risk.
As I climbed up the tree and hung over the Green River thoughts of both past and present risks that I had taken were flooding through my mind. I thought about the days of sliding down hand-railings on a skateboard, surfing in torrential downpours in New Jersey, and screaming, literally and figuratively, down hills on a mountain bike. The craziness of days gone by flooded my mind. I thought, “I used to be such a risk-taker, what happened?”
Life has a way of becoming a little too tame if we’re not careful. When our lives become more about a calculated decisions rather than following the sweet voice of the Lord few risks will be taken. Leaving behind old self and embracing the new self in Christ is a risk. Following Jesus in the simple and mundane things of life is a risk. Hearing Him call us to an abundant life is a risk.
I don’t want a tame and calculated life. I want a life of adventure. I want a life of risk. Not for the adrenaline rush. Not even to cross things off some fabricated bucket list. I simply want to follow Jesus. And I’ve learned that following Him requires taking risks. The Bible is littered with stories of men and women who took risks for the Kingdom of God. Noah, Abraham, Gideon, Ruth, Esther, Paul, Peter, and so many others took risks for the sake of walking with their God. Following Jesus, being His disciple requires risk.
I may never take the risk and skateboard in an empty swimming pool again, but there are plenty of other risks that are meant to be taken. Risk needs to be an invaluable part of my life. This past Saturday, I needed to climb that tree. God used that simple exercise posed by Greg to show me that risk draws us closer to the heart of God. I’ve taken a lot of risks over the last eight months. My wife has taken a lot of risk over that time as well. It’s not been easy, but I think its safe to say that we feel closer to Jesus than we ever have before.
Taking risks physically isn’t easy, but taking risks spiritually is probably more difficult. Listening and walking with God means surrendering control of our lives and accepting the risks that He puts before us. Through the course of our lives, maybe even through course of this week or day, He is inviting us to take some pretty incredible risks for the sake of His Kingdom. Will we join Him? I don’t know about you, but I don't want a tame and unfulfilled “life” to get in the way of an abundant and risk-filled life serving my King…
Please go check out Greg Sailors and Mark Folk with New Wilderness Adventures wonderful guys who love Jesus and have a passion for His Kingdom.