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Is Anything Risk Free?

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Have you seen them? They’re increasingly more common. I’m talking about those risk-free offers for products that will cure hair loss or grow tomatoes. Maybe it’s a sign of the times, or maybe we’re simply growing weary of the volatility that has invaded nearly every area of our lives. It could be that life circumstances have stolen our childlike trust, and we’ve become more cautious. For many, retirement nest eggs have fallen victim to a turbulent economy, while for others it is hard to think of planning for a future that can change without warning. Anything that is risk free sounds like a good deal!

As a young Christian, the Lord asked me to take a risk—to leave a stable engineering career and pursue full-time ministry. This meant quitting my job and going back to school, which was anything but risk free for me and my family. While not everyone I knew thought this was a good idea, the prospect of taking a risk with God in control seemed like the right thing to do. I’ve never regretted it. This experience confirmed for me a valuable lesson best expressed by one of our core values: Achieving God’s purposes involves taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change.

I believe God is calling other men and women to take those faith-filled risks today. I’ve met many of them who have transitioned from lucrative careers in the United States to serve around the world in the marketplace. Their professional training and skills are welcomed in countries where traditional clergy-trained workers would be denied access. They are serving in a legitimate business or professional role in a cross-cultural setting, representing Jesus to those who have not heard. There is nothing risk free in their all-out devotion to God and His claim on their lives.

Compassion and Mercy Associates (CAMA)—the relief and development arm of The Alliance—connects men and women who believe that achieving God’s purposes involves taking faith-filled risks with opportunities for holistic ministry. In the United States as well as other nations, barriers to the gospel—hunger, poverty, AIDS and natural disasters—are being transformed into opportunities for those living in darkness to experience the love of Jesus in a tangible way and embrace His salvation.

I feel a special affinity with these groups with those ministering in the marketplace and CAMA because I see myself as a layperson called to serve our Lord in an unstable and unpredictable world. While the Lord has taken me on a different pathway, these laypeople and I work toward the same end.

I have referred to the Alliance laity as our sleeping giant. As that giant awakens and impacts our neighborhoods and the nations for Jesus, we will all be called to take faith-filled risks for the Kingdom and for the King. Those risks will involve change—greater for some than for others. Many will be called to serve with marketplace ministries and CAMA; others to more traditional roles. But living out our calling will require taking risks. There really is no such thing as a risk-free offer.

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