Twenty six years ago today, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on assent into earth orbit killing all seven crew members, including Christa McAuliffe, a school teacher. Also killed in the explosion was Judith Resnik, a 1966 graduate of Akron Firestone High School, where our sons Joshua and Jason currently attend. There is a memorial to Dr. Resnik at the school. An anonymous individual has flowers delivered to that memorial every year.
A few years ago there was a commercial for an investment firm that began with footage of the Apollos 11 astronauts on the moon. After the brief footage, the screen became dark and the following words appeared on the screen, "The biggest risk, is not taking one."
I admire the risk takers. I honor our explorers-- Magellan, Lewis and Clark, Ernest Shackleton, Frederick Cook, Neil Armstrong, and the seven astronauts on the Space Shuttle Challenger. I greatly respect those who risk themselves for the greater good. For them to stay at home may be the safest thing, but to journey forward in search of the truth that benefits others is a risk they are willing to take.
Those of us who believe that Jesus is Lord must be willing to risk it all for the sake of the gospel in the world. For Christians should want the truth above all things. Jesus has not called us to a live a life of comfort and ease. Jesus has given us to the task of moving forward to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The older I get, the more I have come to realize that I must be willing to do whatever it takes to do my part in that endeavor. In the days I have left on this earth, they must be taken up in the Great Commission Jesus gave to all of his followers in Matthew 28. The biggest risk is not taking that risk. The biggest risk is preferring instead a life of comfort and stability, where my spare time is devoted mostly to my hobbies and not making disciples. The biggest risk is having to stand one day before my Lord and explain why I did not take the risk of being a faithful disciple in mission, ready to lose it all for the sake of the gospel in the world.
My Cuban Christian friend, Willie Santiago says, "Faith involves risk." He is right. Faith is much more than comfort; it is what pushes us into a way of life that is less than certain, a way of life in which we can only acknowledge that God is in control.
We Christians are explorers. We journey in the ways of God ready for the surprises we will receive along the way as God does God's work through us.
The biggest risk is not taking one.