Fear, Risk, and the Church's Mission

Seth Godin:

Fitzgerald nailed it when he described Jay Gatsby’s attitude: “What would be the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do?” It’s easy to fall so in love with the idea of starting that we never actually start. (Poke the Box75)

One of Godin’s goals in this little book is to expose the truth about failure — it's not as bad as we all think.

And yet, the fear of failure is paralyzing. It's the great deterrent to our starting things, to our taking risks. It is, as Godin explains, the dirt that buries us in the status quo program of the world around us.

Now, in my opinion, the biggest and simplest takeaway from reading Godin is how much more what he says applies to the Christian than to the secular professional.

Godin is brilliant in trying to convince his readers to step forward, to fly in the face of fear, to “start.”

And Jesus says this:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18–20)

Whatever it is caught in the brain storm of your starting, let it have this verb in its sights: make disciples. Be about sharing the gospel and your very own self with people in order to present them mature in Christ (1 Thessalonians 2:8; Colossians 1:28). Jesus has given us the commission, with all authority in heaven and earth. And he is always with us, always, with all authority in heaven and earth.

Pastor John writes,

When the threat of death becomes a door to paradise the final barrier to temporal risk is broken. When a Christian says from the heart, "To live is Christ and to die is gain," he is free to love no matter what. . . . To every timid saint, wavering on the edge of some dangerous gospel venture, Jesus says, "Fear not, you can only be killed" (Luke 12:4). (A Call for Christian Risk)

How can we be afraid?

Go.

Jonathan Parnell (@jonathanparnell) is a writer and content strategist at Desiring God. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Melissa, and their four children, and is the co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary .