All people seem to have an internal setting that governs how risk-averse and how risk-tolerant they are. Some seem to be born for danger and peril, and their exploits can be seen on a continuous video loop at any Islands restaurant. Others are naturally cautious, slow to stick their necks out, and reluctant to jump into the fray.

My risk tolerance is somewhere toward the middle of this continuum. I’m cautious in some ways, such as when I’m handling money and investments. I’m careful in social situations where there is potential to offend. In other ways, however, I have an adventurous streak. I’m what you might call a selective risk-taker. Put me on a high mountain straddling cliffs on both sides and I’m ready to climb. Send me to a third world country to eat in a sketchy hole-in-the-wall dive and I’m all in.

If you put me in a church of risk-takers and risk-avoiders, I’m going to come out somewhere in the middle. So let’s talk about oceans and harbors. Some among us are like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz: “There’s no place like home.” This group appreciates familiar comforts, order and predictability, as well as some semblance of control. This group tends to view Church life as a safe harbor to sail into, a place for healing, respite, and revitalization. Others among us love the thrill of adrenalin, the fast pace of constant change, the engagement of something different every day. This second group is entrepreneurial, bold, inventive, and not afraid to make mistakes and risk failure. This group tends to view Church life as a gathering to equip us to sail into the vast oceans and uncharted waters of ministry and mission in the world.

So which group is right? If you know me, you know I’ll say, “Wrong question.” God has created us with this variety of risk tolerances and called us to live in community together. Why would God do this to us? Because God understands that we’re better together. We need bold visionaries like Paul and nurturing encouragers like Barnabas. We need enterprising risk-takers like Esther and faith-filled mentors like Lois and Eunice. Sometimes, we need to hear the voice of prudence that calls us into the harbor to repair and rebuild. At other times, we need to listen to the bold voices that call us into the open water and new kingdom ventures. May God grant us wisdom and discernment to know what season we are living in, and may we ever seek to “Be the Blessing” during every season of life.

Andy Wall
Author: Andy Wall