To live without the possibility of loss is to live without the potential for adventure.
I wrote that sentence, put it on a cool picture I took at the Oregon coast, and then I posted it on Instagram and Facebook. I expected rave reviews and a ton of likes. (I mean, why be on social media unless your ego is getting stroked, right?).
The response was underwhelming.
And one short private email that essentially said, “I’m not looking for adventure. Thank you very much.”
Then I started thinking (I know, crazy, huh?).
Most of us do everything we can to avoid loss. Loss is for losers. Loss doesn’t contribute to our upward mobility. Loss is dumb. In our thinking, loss is synonymous with defeat, failure, pain, and even death.
Then there’s the “a” word (adventure) which is another term very few get excited about. Let’s own it; for most of us, the extent of our “life of adventure” is watching Survivor or Animal Planet. We tend to experience our escapades vicariously. Why get off the couch when you can experience anything secondhand and without the risk?
However, Jesus’ promise of abundant life probably isn’t lived out with a remote control in your hand.
Like it or not—and you may not—the amazing life to which you are invited involves struggle, the ever-present potential for loss, and risk. The path to adventure is more like riding a roller coaster than floating down a quiet river with a diet Coke in hand.
But I’m terrified of roller coasters!
I get it.
Remember the story Matthew told of the time Jesus walked on water? The disciples were in the middle of the lake, it was stormy and dark, and they were probably hangry. A few of them were undoubtedly murmuring and wondering why Jesus had sent them out so late at night in the first place. Then somebody sees something and yells, “GHOST!” I imagine they started rowing harder than ever.
In hindsight, we know now that it was Jesus, but they had no idea what or who it was. Jesus realizes they’re freaking out and He says, “Chill, have courage, it’s me!”
What happens next is amazing. Peter says, “Uh, okay, Lord, if it’s really you, can I play too?” Gotta love that guy. And you have to wonder what the other eleven are thinking at that point.
“Let’s go, Pete,” Jesus said!
And for a few moments and a few feet, Peter was water-walking.
Yeah, Peter faltered. I guess you could say he failed. Of course, Jesus rescued him (He always does), but Peter’s the only one who got out of the boat. And for the rest of Peter’s life, only he could relate the adventure: “Remember that time I walked with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee?”
Peter took a risk, he got out of the boat, and his life was forever enriched because he faced the possibility of loss to experience the potential for adventure.
When was the last time you got out of your boat? Yesterday? Last week? Last year?
When did you last take a risk because Jesus said, “Come on, let’s do this!”
I know what you’re thinking: “What if I lose everything?”
Hmmm . . . I’ll let Jesus answer that one from Mark 8:34-36 (TPT).
Jesus summoned the crowd, along with his disciples, and had them gather around. And he said to them: “If you truly want to follow me, you should at once completely disown your own life. And you must be willing to share my cross and experience it as your own, as you continually surrender to my ways. For if you let your life go for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, you will continually experience true life. But if you choose to keep your life for yourself, you will forfeit what you try to keep. For what use is it to gain all the wealth and power of this world, with everything it could offer you, at the cost of your own life?
Jesus said it best, “Lose everything, yup, but that’s when you gain everything that is true life.”
So, let me float some crazy ideas your way:
Maybe it’s time to see that faith is often synonymous with risk.
Maybe it’s time to live the abundant and wild adventure of following Jesus.
Maybe it’s time to get off the couch.