Risk

Bernstein’s book, Against the Gods, takes the reader on a remarkable historical journey on the identification and management of risk. Risk involves uncertainty and lack of control about negative unforeseen events. For example, when one buys a house, will it increase or decrease in value? That question is ultimately about risk as no one, short of God, can know for certain the answer to that question. So a buyer must make an educated and informed assessment regarding the likelihood of losing or gaining money on the purchase. Interestingly, the bible has much to say about risk.

Christ’s parable of the talents refers to risk (Mt 25). The unfaithful servant was condemned for his failure to even put the master’s money with the banks. Instead, due to fear, the servant buried the money in order to be sure that he didn’t lose any when the master returned.

What I find interesting about this and other examples of risk in the Bible is that Christ wants his followers to be bold. Boldness is not to be confused with foolhardiness. Boldness is that quality that says, I have looked at the cost-risk analysis and decided that the odds are in favor of success rather than failure. This doesn’t mean that failure cannot happen. It means that God is honored when we evaluate and decide that success is likely and we move ahead despite knowing that success is NOT guaranteed.

Missions work is precisely that, knowing the Master calls his servants to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. There is risk in ministry. Thankfully, in most places, risk is just financial. In others, the risk is death. But God is honored when we acknowledge that He is with us (even in our failures) when we step out in rational faith to serve His kingdom. God expects nothing more than that we be good ambassadors for Him.

King’s Evangelical Divinity School was a ministry started to train ministers to spread the gospel. It took courage to start it because it involved risk of time, money, and reputation. We praise God for giving us 19 years. May He grant us many more to serve him. I trust each of you will do likewise according to your calling.

Dr. Stephen M. Vantassel is tutor at King’s Evangelical Divinity School

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