If you ever want to be successful at something, there comes a time where you have to step out of your comfort zone and take a risk. Whether you are starting a new business, making an investment, or going into full-time ministry; there is going to be a time where you are going to have to make a tough decision that is going to involve taking a risk. Perry Noble, Senior Pastor of NewSpring Church, says “Jesus never calls us to play it safe.” In other words because Jesus took a risk, those of us who follow Him must take a risk as well. Jesus stepped out of the comforts of Heaven, came down to earth, died on a cross in order to save all mankind. He set the precedent for us to follow. Jesus even mentions this in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. This is the response to the master of the servant who buried his talent “And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground.” (Matthew 25:25 NKJV)
So why don’t we take risks? Why are we so inclined to playing it safe? Why don’t we follow Jesus’ example? Why do people miss out on doing something great for God? I believe there are three reasons or excuses people give today for not stepping out of their comfort zone, for playing it safe, and for not taking a risk.
Now I don’t mean by overrated what everyone immediately thinks about. For instance, I don’t mean like when a team is rated high in sports but then gets beat by a lesser rated team proving that they are rated higher than they should be. But what I mean by overrated is that most people don’t take risks because they believe that someone somewhere is better than them in whatever it is they are wanting to take a risk on so they don’t do it. Now the fact is that there is always going to be someone bigger, faster, and stronger than you but the truth is that you can do all things through Christ. (See Philippians 4:13) The servant who chose to bury the talent given to him probably looked at the other two servants who were given five and two talents, and thought that because he was only given one talent that he couldn’t take a risk. Because they had more to work with than he did, he was going to continue to play it safe. The truth is that no matter what anyone else has or what everyone else thinks, you are fully equipped with everything you need to accomplish the purpose in life that God has called you to. So don’t let the world’s rating system hold you back any longer, step out of your comfort zone and doing something great for God.
Some of us believe that just because we have been passed up on a job we were really hoping to get, overlooked by a particular person of status, or not invited to be present to an important meeting; there is no longer any hope for us. You might have even stepped out of your comfort zone and taken a risk before and it didn’t turn out like you hoped it had. Don’t give up. Don’t play it safe. Keep taking risks. Because Joseph was thrown into a pit, thrown into prison, and forgotten about but it still didn’t prevent him from becoming second in command to Pharoah. David was left in the pasture with the sheep and wasn’t even invited to the party when Samuel came to anoint the next king, but it still didn’t keep him back from taking risks. Paul was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, thrown into prison, and left for dead but he still didn’t play it safe. Even Jesus was overlooked, rejected, and killed by His own people but that still didn’t keep Him from stepping out of eternity (comfort zone) and stepping into time and space (risk).
I remember the response to Jesus by the cripple man in John 5 when asked if he wanted to be healed. This is what he said in verse 7 “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” In other words the man was saying to Jesus that he wasn’t willing to put in the effort that it was going to take in order to be healed. Because someone else had overachieved him first, he was just going to continue to lie on his mat where it was safe. Just because someone else has gotten to where you want to be first doesn’t mean that you can’t still do it. It doesn’t mean that you should lie down and quit, but you should increase your efforts in order that you might reach your goal. Don’t stop just because someone else has already done it. Keep pursuing the purpose that God has for your life.
Three out of the four Gospels record Jesus saying “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23) In other words Jesus was saying that in order to follow Me (in order to do something great for God), you must deny yourself (step out of your comfort zone), and take up your cross (take a risk). Don’t let being overrated, overlooked, or overachieved hold you back any longer. Step out of your comfort zone and step in to taking a risk in order that you might achieve something great for God.