Take the Shot
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Opportunity is a funny thing. Sometimes you can see it coming a mile away. You have time to prepare for it, you have time to pray about it, and you’re totally ready when it arrives.
Other times it appears unannounced, as fast as a lightning bolt. No warning whatsoever. You aren’t afforded the luxury of time to pray about it. You may not even be able to ask several trusted friends. You have to make a decision, then and there.
Truth be told, sometimes I missed opportunities because I was afraid to “take” the shot, the chance, or the risk.
For example, several years ago right before the economic recession, I had a solid offer from a buyer who wanted my house, and I wanted to sell it. I needed to sell it, but I had a magic number in my head, and they were only a few thousand bucks away. I hesitated; I didn’t “take” the offer immediately (even though my wife said I should) ... and literally, just a few hours later when I decided to take their offer, they had agreed on a price for another home. Less than a mile from my home.
Is God placing opportunities in your path?
- An obvious opening to share your story of coming to faith with a co-worker
- A free afternoon that could be spent with your kids doing something they love (with your phone turned off)
- A mission trip that you’d love to go on
- An amount of money that you keep seeing in your head that you think you should tithe, sow, or give away
- A pesky little thought that you should really give away one of your cars to someone who needs it
This is happening more and more to me as I get older. Some opportunities are huge, but most of them seem small and insignificant ... until I look back and realize that I missed the chance because I didn’t take the shot.
I tell my boys when they’re playing baseball that they have to swing the bat if they ever want to get on base. They will never, ever, get a hit if they just watch the pitch.
In other words ... whether you miss the shot or make the shot, you have to take the shot.
This is how faith works out in real life. You have to trust Jesus to save you from your sins. You have to trust that God has forgiven you and made you clean and new. You have to trust that the Holy Spirit is living in you and guiding you. If you trust these truths, then you have confidence to TAKE the chance, to step out in boldness and believe God for the best.
Whether you miss it or make it, you take it! The results are up to God; so are the opportunities He places before you. Swing hard and see what happens.—Clayton King1
Many Christians like playing it safe by gathering as many facts as possible, analyzing the options, and making choices in order to be reasonably certain of the outcome. We tend to label risk “undesirable” because it could end up causing loss and heartache; we fear unwanted results as much as we dread missing out on our dreams. But not only that—we are also afraid of looking foolish or incompetent, incurring financial difficulty, or facing physical danger. From a human viewpoint, eliminating uncertainty makes sense.
But what is God’s perspective? Are there times that Christians are to take risks? The answer is a resounding yes, when He is the one asking us to step out of our comfort zone. From the Lord’s viewpoint, there is no uncertainty, because He has control over all things and He will never fail to accomplish His good purposes.2
The Bible is full of real people who took risks to obey the Lord. One was Ananias, whom God sent to minister to the newly converted Saul. Ananias risked his reputation and his life to comply. Another was Saul himself, who was told to preach to the Jews the very gospel he and they had so violently opposed. By focusing on God, His character, and His promises, both men obeyed despite uncertainty, doubt, and fear.
What risk is the Lord calling you to take? He understands your wariness, but He’ll never let you down. Step out in obedience, and watch what He does to grow your faith.—Charles Stanley3
One man’s foresight, one man’s sacrifice, one man’s faithfulness ... can change the world. “Through one man’s obedience, many were made righteous!” But somebody has to decide to trust God. Somebody has to be the pioneer! Somebody has to be willing to take that first step of faith, to take the initiative because of the vision, and to take it alone, if need be, regardless of the cost! We’ve got to do the obeying. We’ve got to do what we know God has told us to do! We have to take a step in the direction He said to go, to find out what He’s going to do. If we’ll obey, He’ll give us the faith! When we obey the Lord, God will not fail us!
Dare to be different. Venture to vary from the norm. The guys that stay put and never go anywhere, just like everybody else, never change anything, never make history! You never hear about the people who wait around to see if it can be done. You only hear about the people who either made it or died trying!
Man says, “It’s impossible! Tie up in port!” God says, “Launch out into the deep!” Man says, “Look at the waves! Look at the wind!” God says, “Look at Me! With man it is impossible; with God, nothing shall be impossible!”—David Brandt Berg
Faith always means risk. Everything in life is a risk. Ecclesiastes 10:8 says, “When you work in a quarry, stones might fall and crush you! When you chop wood, there is danger with each stroke of your ax!”4 Such are the risks of life. There’s nothing we can do that doesn’t have some element of risk in it.
You probably remember the part in the third Indiana Jones movie where Indiana Jones came to the edge of a cliff. He was challenged to step out over the cliff even though he couldn’t see a bridge beforehand. That’s not a bad picture of genuine faith. Faith is stepping out and doing what God has asked you to do when you can’t see what will happen in the end. You don’t know exactly what God’s going to do in the end, but you know he’s asking you to step out in faith.
Many times we’ll come to the edge of faith in our own lives. We’re not sure where things are headed. Maybe it is a decision to start a relationship with Jesus for the first time. Maybe you need to trust him with a business decision or something related to a relationship. There is a risk in stepping out in faith. Who will you trust? Will you trust in the Lord with all your heart? What if you’re wrong? Is it really God telling you to take the step of faith?
If you’ll do the [part] of God’s will that’s clear in the Bible, he’ll show you the [part] that’s not clear. In other words, love your neighbor. Spend time in God’s Word. Talk to God in prayer. Spend time with God’s people. Love your family. Love your kids. Protect the way that you speak to people. Be kind in your relationships. Be patient. Do the [part] that’s clear, and God will show you the rest.
So take the risk. Trust God with everything you have. Do what God has told you to do in His Word. Then, when God challenges you with a risk of faith, you’ll be more confident to do what God tells you to do.—Rick Warren5
Published on Anchor August 2015. Read by Jon Marc.
2 Ephesians 1:11.
4 Editor: Ecclesiastes 10:9 NLT.