Is Risk-Taking Even Biblical?


Not long after moving to Seattle, I found myself challenged as the middle-man between Further Seems Forever and their record company. Part of my role was to help solve problems, meaning I tight-rope walked between aiding artist friends who did not pay me and label friends who did.

Relational tension aside, I owe Further Seems Forever and Brandon Ebel much gratitude. When I sat down to write the most literary-taxing project I’ve ever taken on, their patience and persistence in working through complicated singer-problems, tour-drops, and manager-label challenges served as nostalgic reminders to press through.

I learned two of the greatest lessons in my life from band and boss:

1. Giving up isn't an option.

2. The point is to get it right no matter how much you feel like quitting.

Light Up Ahead,” as well as countless other songs, have repeatedly played over the past 30 months as inspiration to persevere.

It was December 31, 2012. I sipped coffee across the table from my wife, Beth, with no clearer directive for a New Year’s resolution than silence rattling my skull. Typical to her style, she offered a profound suggestion: “Why not just make a goal to take one thousand risks?”

Inspiration hummed, echoed, and chorused through my veins. I slowly sounded out the "Aha!" moment of a bold plan: One. Thousand. Risks. Beth’s dare instantly spiraled my thoughts into a fidgety excitement toward one thousand individual risks with no deadline in sight. I simultaneously wondered whether I'd have the courage, discipline, or follow through while dreaming of a day where I stepped out of my way for others a little more as the God of the universe does.

Then the not-so-inspiring concern crossed my mind, “Is risk-taking even Biblical?”

One thousand risks interrupted everything I thought I knew about loving God and neighbors. I was hungry to experience more of God in my routine, daily existence when Jesus challenged me to the greatest level of Holy Spirit obedience since the day I unenthusiastically challenged Him to save my soul.

According to the English Standard Version of the Bible, the word “risk” or “risked” is only listed three times in all of the New Testament:

1. " who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

2. "...who risked their necks for my life." 

3. "...risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.”

All three instances place the context in risking lives, necks, and life for the sake of others knowing Jesus. Though the word “risk” barely appears in the New Testament, Hebrews chapter 11 proves the concept of risk throughout the whole Bible as the appropriate response to faith.

The action to risk always follows a conviction from faith.

Would I have asked Beth to marry me had I known she loved someone else? Would I have left my music industry job just to experiment with homelessness?

Jesus, through Beth, challenged me way further into messy extravagance.

Think of the greatest risk you’ve ever taken in life.

Where were you? What was it? How did it go? And would you have taken that risk without confidence – even if minimally present?