Risk or Rust
“Risk or rust,” wrote Jack Miller, one of my heroes of the faith. In his letters, he wrote:
Be daring. Take risks. God be with you.
At the time the Spirit of God sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts, we begin life as a new adventure but an adventure with dangers and risks.
Miller wasn’t advocating for foolish risk-taking, or being motivated by presumption rather than faith. He was concerned about our tendency to stop risking, and to prioritize fear over obedience. He didn’t coast in his own ministry, and his legacy continues.
Risk is part of the Christian life. Owen Strachan puts it well:
We’re saved to plunge headlong into a life of God-inspired, Christ-centered, gospel-driven risk. We don’t know when the Master is returning; we don’t know what may come of our efforts. We’re not guaranteed any earthly results.
But we are called to work while there is still time.
I’ve reached the age that people stop taking risks and begin to coast. I get it. I’m fighting that impulse. I hope you are too.
William Wilberforce worked for over four decades to abolish the slave trade. Opponents complained that he “jumped up whenever they knocked him down.” His friend, John Wesley, warned that he would be worn down “unless God has raised you up for this very thing.” He was slandered, and faced almost impossible odds. His wife struggled emotionally and physically. His son departed the faith, and his daughter died. Wilberforce’s own health suffered.
When, after decades of hardship, the abolition bill passed in 1807, Wilberforce said to his friend Henry Thornton, “Well, Henry, what shall we abolish next?”
Wilberforce pursued what was right, not what was easy. He paid the price. He was relentless in his risk-taking.
Risk. Dare. Pursue what will glorify God most, not what will make you most comfortable. Don’t be foolish or presumptuous, but default to taking the bold action. Risking is way better than rusting.