Friday, August 17, 2012

Venturing and Risk

One of my motivations for blogging was to share quotes.

Mum has always been a collector of quotes. I remember as a child, when my Mum was giving leadership to the youth group. She had laminated sheets of paper with quotes on them and taped them to the hallway and the youth classroom. Every time I would walk through there on my way to somewhere else in the church, I would read those quotes.

My parents started subscribing to Readers Digest, where I would always first turn to the quotes page. Often I would tear out the page and tape it to my own bedroom wall. With this blog I wanted to share quotes that I find meaningful.

And one of my favorite sources of thoughtful quotes is Soren Kierkegaard. He may not be everyone's favorite philosopher, but he has been helpful to me. And thus maybe to you. Here are some insightful and challenging quotes on venturing and risk for the Christian.

Surely Christianity's intention is that a person use this life to venture out, to do so in such a way that God can get hold of him, and that one gets to see whether or not he actually has faith.

It is dangerous business to arrive in eternity with possibilities that you have prevented from becoming actualities. Possibility is a hint from God. A person must follow it. The possibility for the highest is in every soul; you must follow it. If God does not want it, then let him hinder it. You must not hinder it yourself. Trusting in God, I have ventured, but I have failed - there is peace and rest and God's confidence in that. I have not ventured - it is an utterly unhappy thought, a torment for all eternity.

We delude ourselves into thinking that to refrain from venturing is modesty, and that it must please God as humility. No, no! Not to venture means to make a fool of God - because all he is waiting for is that you go forth. 

During the first period of a person's life the greatest danger is to not take the risk. When once the risk has been taken then the greatest danger is to risk too much. By not risking you turn aside and serve trivialities. By risking too much, you turn aside to the fantastic, and perhaps to presumption.

To venture the truth is what gives human life and the human situation pith and meaning. To venture is the fountainhead of inspiration. Calculating is the sworn enemy of enthusiasm, the mirage whereby the earthly person drags out time and keeps the eternal away, whereby one cheats God, himself, and his generation. 

A bold venture is not a high-flown phase, not an exclamatory outburst, but arduous work. A bold venture, no matter how rash, is not a boisterous proclamation but a quiet dedication that receives nothing in advance but stakes everything.

Preserve me, Lord, from the deceit of thinking that by being prudent and looking after my own interests I am necessarily using my talents aright. He who takes risks for your sake may appear to lose, but he is accepted by you. He who risks nothing appears to gain by his prudence, but he is rejected by you. But let me no think that by avoiding risk I am better than the other. Grant me to see that this is an illusion, and save me from such a snare.

~ Soren Kierkegaard, Provocations, pgs 396-400

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