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For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Shortly after 7:30 am in August 2000, I was sitting in my office in downtown Lexington. I worked for a statewide political organization and was super happy in my fast-paced, high-energy role. I had no idea my life was about to shift dramatically. Then the phone rang.
“Beck?” said the voice on the other end.
“Hey, Gordon! What’s up?” (Southland’s executive team leader at that time, Gordon Walls, was on the line.)
“Well, we need ya. And I just need you to say yes.”
Thus began my vocational ministry career. I’d love to tell you it was an easy decision to leave my much-loved job and join Jesus in deep Kingdom endeavor. That I never hesitated in hanging up my so-called career creds. But that’d be, well, a lie. Truth is, I loved both the position and organization. It was far from a simple life, but I was fully engaged.
If I went into ministry, lots of things (and by things, I mean money) would be left on the table. Would our finances be enough? If I went into ministry, plans for a dream home would be delayed, maybe given up completely. Could we be happy where we were? If I went into ministry, the dynamics of life with a Monday-to-Friday job would definitely change. Could we make that schedule work for our family?
Still, there was a tug. A yearning in my heart to use God-given skills in service to Jesus. And a crazy husband who said, “We’re gonna pray and fast.”
At the end of the week of prayer, I came across the Jeremiah verse above. As I wrote it in my journal, I knew. We were finished running after things that don’t really matter. Our course would lead us to a simple life. A real life. One with eternal significance.
P.S. I’ve never looked backward with longing.
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. - Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV)
There are risks I never plan to take. Call me a wimp. I don’t care. I’m not jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. Nor am I going to float hundreds of feet over the landscape in a wicker basket tethered to a balloon. I will also not be riding on any highway with nothing between me and the pavement but air. And you can completely rule out ever running into me in a cave … of any sort. Bats live there, people!
But there are a few risks I will endeavor every single day. I hope you will, too. Here are my risk promises:
I will risk all the days of my life to live this day for Jesus Christ. Because He exchanged His glory-filled existence to save my sin-sick life.
I will risk all that I have, to do all that I can, to ensure my children -- and my children’s children -- wind up in heaven. Because knowing Christ has changed the generations of my family.
I will risk all that I deem safe to know the security of never being snatched from the loving hand of my Savior. Because His promises are sure, I will trust Him instead of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
I will risk being thought of as weird, crazy, or not-very-bright to embrace the simple truth that Jesus Christ is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, the hope of the world. Because God makes the simple wise.
I will risk rejection to tell others about the good news of the Gospel. Because it is the gift of a good, good Father who will never leave or forsake me.
I will risk losing sleep to pray deep into the night for the revival of the nations, turning the hearts of the people to the Lord and His precepts. Because He is coming soon, friends!