Beloved I pray with you; may God turn every evil counsel against you into foolishness and shame in the lives of the accuser in Jesus’ name, Amen.
One of the most perplexing questions a Christian and, to be sure, a Christian leader will face when it comes to risk is this:
Am I trusting God, or am I simply being foolish?
The question isn’t as dumb as it seems.
There’s a fine line between faith and irresponsibility, and at times it’s almost impossible to see.
You know that big leadership risk you’re thinking about?
your new role
the massively daunting project
the big mission trip
that new campus
your start up
hiring a team
a new facility
the big move?
So…is it a step of faith, or is it just stupid?
Is it trust…or is it irresponsibility?
THE BIBLE SOMETIMES MAKES THINGS…COMPLICATED
Ever really read the Bible?
So when you read it…what do you see? Faith or foolishness?
What was Abraham thinking when we set out with his entire family to go to a land he’d never been to, risking everything for a voice he thought he’d heard?
Who was Moses to think he could stand up to the most powerful king in the land, or to even attempt it after he had so much doubt about his calling?
The prophets were….not very typical suburban people. Ezekiel lay on his side for 390 days and all eating a specific diet cooked over excrement and played with a scale model of Jerusalem to show its pending destruction…wow!)
Imagine how Daniel felt being thrown into the lion’s den. Had he lived his life faithfully, or foolishly? He was about to find out.
Would you have advised your kids to do what Peter James and John did, leaving it all (including you, mom and dad!) to follow a man that had just burst onto the scene and some are starting to think is God?
How about Paul, who went from place to place, prison to prison, painfully misunderstood but absolutely committed to proclaiming this Jesus so many people rejected?
We say we want our kids to lead faithful lives, but do we even have a clue what that means?
None of our biblical heroes were exactly on the top college/stunning career track.
If you were advising any of these biblical figures, what would you have told them to do?
What is a Godly decision?
Is it always wise, prudent, restrained, responsible?
Or is it always risky, edgy, out-there, half-crazed?
That’s a tough one, isn’t it?
TWO HELPFUL QUESTIONS
For the record, I don’t believe there’s an easy way, five step, bullet proof way to resolve the tension between faith and foolishness.
Pivotal decision making should be navigated through prayer, through pouring over scripture (prayer and scripture should always be married) and through seeking advice of trusted, Christian mature people around you . But sometimes that even lands in a place of uncertainty.
Here are two questions I’ve started asking myself to help when things aren’t clear:
1. Is ‘wisdom’ killing my trust in God?
2. Does my ‘trust’ in God disregard all wisdom?
THE FINAL CALL
So…you can go through all of these steps and still not be clear. You knew that, didn’t you?
So what happens if all of this (prayer, scripture, wise counsel and questions like the two questions above) doesn’t lead you to a conclusion?
Here’s what I do.
I just make a decision. So should you.
So many dreams have died because people were terrified to make the wrong decision. Don’t be.
Whatever decision you make, offer it up in faith. Make it faith. Dedicate the decision and the outcome to God, like Paul suggests in Romans 14:23.
A prayer like that can sound something like this:
God I”m doing this (or not doing this) because I trust you. If it’s wrong, I trust you will show me. If it’s right, I trust you will show me. I’m trusting you with the outcome.
Then go for it. With confidence and faith. Don’t hold back.
For as Augustine said:
Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.