Sell all that you have. . . and come, follow me.

—Luke 18:22-23 NKJV

I love being able to dictate the terms I’m comfortable with when it comes to my participation in anything. You see, all my terms are, for the most part, reasonable and comfortable and I love feeling competent.

I’ve noticed that anything of great value which I want to pursue requires more than reasonable and comfortable. And requires moving beyond what I’m already competent in. To participate in things that are unprecedented necessitates real risk—from boldly entering into uncharted territory to the laying down of everything I think I need to hold onto in terms of staying comfortable and in control.

Full participation and full risk is required in order to gain full value. It seems to be the way life is wired. Think about anything you really long for. Or bring to mind something you’ve wanted to bring about in your life experiences. As you consider what is unprecedented for you…

…notice what you currently depend on to make life work. By default, that reliance will stymie and limit you.

What do you regard as a risk? What is it that keeps you from participating fully? Is it not feeling adequate? Is it the fear that you’ll not succeed?

I believe when it’s all said and done, the two general choices I have is to trust in my historical resources and competency (leading me to be cautious and risk little) or to trust that I’ll be open enough, curious enough, resilient enough, and learning enough to fully give myself and risk it all.

On the other hand, in a sense, you are always trusting and always participating fully based on one of the two choices. The question is: “In what conversation are you trusting?”

What if we’re all always participating 100% in the conversation we’ve decided upon? For example, imagine you’ve come to rely on the belief that “People can’t be trusted,” so you fully participate in living according to that conversation. Or this one: “God doesn’t care how I live,” and you fully participate according to that belief. Or: “I have never been good at…” and you participate fully in that.

To have relationship with anyone is inherently risky. Haven’t you noticed that the people in your life keep changing? In my 40-plus-year marriage with Dawn—I have discovered that what worked yesterday in terms of having my commitment turn out does not necessarily work today… and what works today is unreliable for tomorrow. To stay in relationship means to keep giving myself, keep risking, and remain flexible.

To embrace life fully requires taking on all the random and unforeseen challenges life throws at you. I am currently facing an unprecedented challenge that indicates what I have been able to rely on is off the table and I get to find a new way to fulfill what I love to do. This requires new levels of participation.

As stated before, God is honored when we participate fully; when we put what’s His and ours at risk for Him. God indicates that as we invest by risking we will reap great rewards. This calls upon our full participation, grounded in faith that He will come through, and a willingness to wait for that harvest.

Don’t be shocked when that one thing you’ve been able to rely on gets thwarted. In Luke 18 it was the young man’s reliance on and relationship to his wealth that Jesus was concerned with. For you it may be how you hold your reputation, family heritage, education, expertise, or specific job skills. Whatever you depend on will define what is possible. What has made you good is also what can keep you from being great. So, what’s next for you and what new risk does it require?

Ennio