Our faith has so many dimensions to it that it has no single synonym.
Faith is belief. Faith is trust. Faith is obedience. But one dimension that is almost forgotten is that faith is also risk. Sometimes it’s a leap.
In the Bible, God is always calling people to jump off cliffs. He called Abraham to jump off the edge of the only world he knew and venture towards an unknown destination. He called Moses to jump into a power struggle with Pharaoh and set a people of slaves free.
When God reduced Gideon’s army from 32000 to 300 and then told him to take on the might of the Midianites, it was like telling him to jump into a fiery furnace.
In the New Testament, Jesus does the same, calling people out of the security of some boat and inviting them to walk on water. The greatness of scripture stories is largely in their demonstrations of faith as risk.
Today’s parable is about playing it safe versus adventure. A talent is a measure of weight. One man is given 5 talents of money, another 2 and another 1. each received an amount based on his ability. The first 2 were adventurous with their capital and increased it. The third played it safe and hid his money. When accounts were settled, the first 2 were praised and given greater responsibilities, while the third was dealt with harshly, to say the least.
The point, of course, it that we are to be creative stewards of whatever God has given us. To merely keep it is to lose it. To use it wisely is to multiply it, which benefits everyone.
God has given us powers and potentialities we have never used. We only fulfil our capacity to fly when we jump off cliffs and find our wings on the way down. Something in us recoils from such a thought and we often foreclose on beautiful possibilities by avoiding what seems too risky.
An acquaintance never develops into a rich, meaningful friendship because 2 people can’t remove the armour of self-protection and become vulnerable to each other. Relationships do not deepen, or reach the heights of spiritual intimacy because self-doubt and fear of rejection keep us from believing that such things are possible.
Yes, we may get hurt, but so what? First flights are seldom entirely successful, but they are how we find our wings.
The Roman Tacitus said: “the desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.”
Why do we never reach our personal promised lands, or even begin to live with a sense of destiny?
Often because we keep choosing the security of level ground and gradually lose our vision of the mountains and the sky.
Of course there’s no guarantee against disappointment and pain, but we know the old saying – it’s better to have loved, or lived or ventured and lost than never to have really lived.
Jesus would say we lose life by trying to keep it, but we find life by spending it wisely and courageously.