Risk Averse or Risk Taker?

Some years ago, I earned a living in the Business Continuity (BC) industry, perhaps more commonly referred to in the early days as Disaster Recovery (DR). In fact, the emphasis initially was on how businesses would recover from an unplanned outage (disaster).  This meant that DR was a set of policies and procedures to enable the recoveryof a business’s critical technology, infrastructure and systems. 

Whilst DR remains a relevant and practiced element of an organisation’s business strategy, the approach swiftly developed into one of complete resilience. Consequently, at its heart BC plans, prepares and coordinates activities such that an organisation’s key business functions continue to operate in the event of a serious incident or disaster. In many sectors, incorporation of a proven BC strategy is mandatory; for an ever-decreasing number of others it remains advisory. For those that opt not to include BC as part of the business’s policy it normally comes down to the appetite for risk. (Hope you are following all this .. Ed)

What about ours appetite for risk? Do we evaluate all possible outcomes before deciding on a course of action?  Do we surround ourselves with checks and balances, define our safe zones and forbidden territories? Lord Coggan, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, who I had the pleasure to meet as a young boy (me that is, not him), encouraged those he met to live by this phrase: “Don’t take care, take risks”.

The Bible is packed with stories of risk takers, men and women stepping out in faith: the inspiring story of Nehemiah; David as he faced Goliath; the courage of Rahab and Ruth, the apostles Paul, Peter and John preaching the gospel against serious opposition and the biggest risk taker of them all, Jesus; willing to risk persecution, pain, rejection and of course death to see God’s kingdom come. 

In many parts of the world simply declaring a belief in Jesus constitutes the ultimate risk. It’s important we understand the seriousness of these stories and that we celebrate the faithfulness and courage of the men and women concerned. In doing so we know that, whilst it’s unlikely that we will ever encounter situations as extreme as some of these, our daily lives are filled with opportunities to take risks for Jesus. He asked His disciples to step out of the boat, some literally (Matt 14:29), and likewise wants us to take risks for kingdom purposes. To live as men of faith, men with an opposite spirit, certain of our destination and full on in proclaiming the gospel, whatever it takes. 

I have a saying, maybe not as Godly or challenging as Lord Coggan’s, that “I’d rather regret doing something, than regret doing nothing”.If your life is full of ‘policies and procedures’ to mitigate the possibility of those disasters or incidents, perhaps it’s time to consider the ‘disasters’ or ‘incidents’ you could be preventingby a change in your appetite for risk? A change to being intentional about interacting with uncertainty, doing stuff which impacts others for Christ, influencing change, stepping forward and being a kingdom risk taker. What have you got to lose?

Image Credit: Cristofer Jeschke