OK, I’m confused. For most of my life I’ve been told that doing anything recklessly is bad and to be avoided. Handle finances recklessly and end up in debt. Navigate relationships recklessly and leave a trail of anger, bitterness, and disappointment. Drive recklessly and end up around a tree and cited for “Reckless Driving” (this “reckless” is so bad there’s even a law against it!).
But according to Kevin Harney this past weekend, Jesus calls us to a life of “recklessness,” specifically in the areas of service, generosity, prayer, and words (telling others about Jesus).
As I honestly evaluate my life, I think I’ve been “reckless” in all of these areas at some point, just not all at the same time and certainly not for very long. They usually follow an event (a sermon, conference, seminar, or book) that God uses to challenge me in a particular area.
As a student in Bible College I was challenged, through a class on evangelism, to become actively involved in telling others about Jesus. The methods we used weren’t really effective and probably alienated more than we led to Christ, but at least I was using “reckless words” about what Jesus had done for me. I can say that I’ve rarely reached that level of reckless words since.
Meanwhile, my periods of “reckless generosity” have been more frequent and consistent over the years. As my wife and I have been presented with needs of those in our church and community, we’ve experienced God’s Spirit in our hearts to move us to be more generous than we would normally have been. It’s been a process of being more “open-handed” with the resources God has entrusted to us. It is an ongoing process where we’ve learned to trust God as we give things and money away.
As I reviewed my mixed record of recklessness over the years, I asked myself the question, “Why am I not living more recklessly in these areas?” Even in those areas where I think I’ve made some improvement, there is still much more I could do. What’s stopping me? I think I know.
Mostly it’s because I’m comfortable.
I’m comfortable serving when it’s convenient for me. I’m comfortable giving as long as I’ve got enough in reserve (who really knows how much that needs to be?). I’m comfortable with my prayer life even though I know it’s not that good. And even though my evangelism efforts are not close to what they should be, I’m comfortable in this area as well. But I’m only comfortable when I evaluate myself against what others expect me to do and what I perceive others are doing.
When I measure myself against what God expects, as part of a life of “whitewater rafting,” I know it’s time to strap on the life jacket and get in the raft.
Ready to join me?
Doug Redford | on-campus groups
Doug serves as the pastor of on-campus groups at Ada Bible Church.