The Risk of Not…

During the market crash it looked like the end of the auto industry here in America. The Big Three gathered in Washington to beg for a bailout and everyone was scurrying from their stock shares. Of course when everyone else is running, that is the time to buy. So my dad, my brother, and I pooled our Christmas money to buy shares of Ford (the first time I ever bought stocks). Soon enough Chrysler and GM would declare bankruptcy, leaving their shares worthless. But Ford strove along, refusing bailout money. And this summer we sold for 16 dollars a share, which we purchased 2.

Of course it could have easily turned out the other way (we also bought Bank of America, which has been a roller coaster). The great risk petrifies most. Disables most or cause them to flee. But stuck we are left without the reward.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Each of our girls has a 529 for college.** They are set to adjust the level of risk as the kids near college. Many retirement accounts are set up in similar manner. Of course as the risk decreases, so does the chance for reward. But this reflects the teeter-totter of our own life. We arrive into life filled with energy and passion – risk takers, but also foolish. Yet as our wisdom increases, our passion slowly wanes.

The passion of youth is foolish enough to believe all things possible. In some ways the young do not even know the risks they are taking. With age we become more aware. We also have more to lose (not just Christmas money!). As we learn the ebb and flow of life, we see the chances of success and the possibility of failure. And our wisdom becomes percentages. So we now ask, “Does the reward outweigh the risk?”, because we no longer believe that all things are possible…

This wisdom keeps us from a great many mistakes. We avoid failure. But we also trade away our chance for great victories. So our decisions are not based on the possibility of good, but on certainty of safety…

“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.” – Soren Kierkegaard

This past week I sat in a circle of pastors and we discussed our greatest failures. Silly stories and some tragic. But surprisingly few large mistakes. Possibly pride prevented us from sharing. Then one person spoke that he did not recall any epic failures, but he also did not remember any big risks…

But is our wisdom actually wise? When we place safety over the best…

Should the church be a safe place?

“Then Aslan isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” [From Lion, the Witch, and the Wardobe by CS Lewis]


**We just signed up Darcy for her 529 College account with MOST (Missouri’s program). And in the mail came a brochure reminding us we could have our first 500 dollars matched (which is about all we put in each girl’s account – so this is bonanza). We have had plans in multiple states, but this is first to offer matching. And a good incentive to get everyone started… Unfortunately I do not get paid for these advertisements…

3 thoughts on “The Risk of Not…

  1. Sean, you sound like a savy, wise money manager. How blessed your family will be for this.
    You have probably learned this from your Dad (or maybe Dave Ramsey)??
    Wherever, it’s wonderful.

    Yes, the stock market can be a wild ride. Dean had a older teacher once who enjoyed
    playing the markets and he always said, “If you can’t lose your ten grand and still sleep
    well at night, you have no business in the markets.”

    I am still enjoying the Phil. daily reminders and thank you for listening yesterday about how
    we view Gen 3:15.

    1. “Savy”!! That made me laugh. And you are right, you must be able to lose the money. Hence we used Christmas gifts (and pooled money to get the minimum investment). So small that even big gains did not amount to much!!

      I am glad you enjoy the Philippians reminders. I hope it will affect the church!

    2. Also, I hope I did not come across as prideful. Money gains are nice, but silly in comparison with risk all to follow Christ.

      Here this is my struggle – the reason I wrote. In the group of pastors I felt the the burden of safety. I want to be safe. And I wondered if I was willing to risk everything. I know with a black and white question (deny Christ to live sort of moment) I would make the right choice. It is the gray of everyday where I wonder, because it is easy to slip into complacency… and in this I will miss the moment to risk everything!

      Does that make sense! The key of course is prayer and relationship with Christ. I appreciate your prayers – thanks Martha!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s