The very notion of risk is a foreign subject to most Americans. Yet, an important aspect of the Christian life can be summed up in one word: risk. John Piper argues that risk is essential. The title of the book is Risk is Right: Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It.
Readers familiar with Dr. Piper’s Christian hedonism will gravitate to this book – for God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Piper writes,
This is what we live for, and die for: to make much of Jesus Christ and his glorious, universe-encompassing kingdom. The heart cry of our lives, young and old, men and women, rich and poor, is the glory of Jesus Christ so that with full courage now as always Christ might be honored in our bodies whether by life or by death.
Such a notion involves risk, which the author defines as “an action that exposes you to the possibility of loss or injury.” Most Americans do whatever they can do achieve the opposite. Yet Piper argues, “It may not be loving to choose comfort or security when something great may be achieved for the cause of Christ and for the good of others.”
Piper urges readers to consider what he has coined, “risk avoidance,” which is in the final analysis, a cowardly act. Bonhoeffer is cited in what proves to be one of the most moving quotations in the book. Read the German pastor’s words slowly:
To delay or fail to make decisions may be more sinful than to make wrong decisions out of faith and love.
“Risk avoidance” Piper writes, “may be more sinful – more unloving than taking the risk in faith and love and making a wrong decision.”
The author presents examples of Old Testament and New Testament saints who took risks for the glory of God.
The point that Piper seeks to make is this: If you only live in comfort and refuse to step out in faith and risk, you will waste your life. When we risk, we will be eternally satisfied in him. Nothing will have been wasted.”
As usual, Piper always challenges presuppositions, encourages lively and Christ-centered faith and prods Christ-followers in the right direction. The concluding sentence of the book is revealing:
But at the end of the road of risk, taken in reliance on the blood-bought promises of God, there will be fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.