(This article was originally written on June 22, 2011):
“You live a sweet, little, nerf-y life. Sitting on your biscuit, never having to risk it.”
Could Darryl from The Office say this of you?
God is continually speaking to me, as He does to all of us. So I write these ramblings of Jesus-ness not only to share with you the things he is teaching me, but also to remind myself and help ingest them as well.
Is it wrong for us, as followers of Christ, to live “carefully?”
The modus operandi of our culture seems to be to just try your best to “get by,” to do whatever you can to stay comfortable, and to not go outside the lines of what’s considered normal. But what if that’s not really what a “normal” life is supposed to look like?
You were created for more than just existing. While we have redefined mediocrity as normal and far too often expect nothing more than that from ourselves, God will not accept it. He did not create us to be average but to be unique. Only God really knows the person you were intended to become. Only He sees the full measure of what is neglected or lost.
God did not create us to just get by. God did not create us to survive, but to thrive. By the very nature of our being created beings by an all-powerful, all-loving Creator, we were designed to take risks.
“Risk” is not a very popular word these days. If it’s not familiar, forget it, they say. I too often have let the fear of the unknown rule my life. For too many years I thought the best, perfect life was one of comfortability, of safety, of little to no hard work. But the older I get, the more I realize that God loves it when we step out and do something that requires faith. Even if we fail. Our Father is thrilled when we TRY something, when we take a risk. Risk is the path he uses to mold us, teach us, reorient us.
God is the most beautiful creator in existence. Think about it. Art is risky. Every time a painter put his brush to the canvas, he risks failure. He risks his audience absolutely hating what he creates. He risks himself absolutely hating what he creates.
But what does he risk by not painting? He risks the fact that no one ever will love his painting, because they never got to see it in the first place. He risks not finding satisfaction in his finished work. He risks not giving the world a work of art that some may come to deeply cherish. The painter paints because the risk is greater when he does not.
Recall the parable of the talents. A master gave 5 talents to one of his servants, 2 to another, and 1 to the third. The first two went out and made use of their talents, using them in a way that multiplied the original amount. The third, however, decided to bury his talent in fear of losing it. He just “got by,” making no use of his talent until the master returned. Upon seeing what he had done, the master was furious that he made no use of the talent he had given him, and threw him out of his kingdom.
Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.
When we neglect our God-given capacity, when we refuse to maximize our God-given potential, it is wickedness in the sight of God. How would it change the work of the church if our measure of effectiveness was not how little sin was being done, but how much good was being accomplished?.. A life lived beneath our divine capacity is equally dishonoring to God.
It’s important to remember, however, that RISK looks different for every person. We cannot, and should not, judge one another on what “risks” we are willing to take in life, have taken, or have not. Not everyone is expected to be a Billy Graham or a Mother Teresa. That drunkard in the bar could be taking the biggest step of faith in his entire life by simply going home that evening and spending time with his children. Everyone is at a different place.
You know where you’re at. So look at your life, acknowledge where you’re at, and determine where you need to step out and take a risk by using the talents and abilities God has given you.
How terribly sad it is that people… get used to something as extraordinary as living.
What a privilege life is. A life lived not using the talents and resources God has given us is pretty much a slap in the face of our creator. Let us never aim for “comfortable” above all else. Let us always be challenging ourselves, doing something at least a little out of our comfort zone. That is, after all, where God loves to meet us.
How beautiful it is that God created us as fellow creators in his world. When he made mankind, he told them to “be fruitful and multiply.” Literally, create. Sure, God could have named all the animals himself, just like he named Adam and Eve. He didn’t need Adam’s help. But that’s not what he chose to do. “He brought [the animals] to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever he called them, that was their name” (Genesis 2).
God invited Adam into a life of creativity in the world he gave him. God created the skies, hills, sunsets, the nervous system, and a baby’s laughter. Man used what God gave him to create the wheel, the Great Wall of China, flu vaccines, the Mona Lisa, automobiles, marriages, and loving families; all can equally bring God glory.
So, don’t settle for a sweet, little, nerf-y life. No one, even God, expects you to be perfect. But use every talent God has given you to the best of your ability, and don’t be afraid to fail… Except if one of your talents is throwing nerf balls. That kind of defeats the purpose.
Risk failure. Risk creating.
© Matt Tory, 2013.