Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ninety Seven

I heard recently that around 3% of the population are by nature risk-takers.  (As a statistic, it may have been based on anecdotal evidence; but I would imagine that it is fairly accurate nonetheless.)

To follow Jesus – indeed, to follow the God of Abraham, of Moses, of Ruth, of David, of Elijah, of Daniel, of Esther, of Mary, of Jesus, of Paul – requires of us that we step out into the unknown.  And that means that for 97% of us, it requires doing something that doesn’t come naturally.

I think of my parents.  I know my parents, and they aren’t risk-takers.  I don’t think it is just a matter of that they have become more risk-averse with age, or since having kids – and now grandchildren.  I just think that they are part of the 97%, and not the 3%.  And yet, in their twenties, they moved to what was at the time reckoned to be the most dangerous city in the world: Manila.  My mother was thrown from a moving bus when she was pregnant with me.  (Some would say, that explains a lot.)

On any measure other than faith in the God of Abraham, they were foolish.  And even so, it was costly.

I know for certain that I am part of the 97%.  But I have sought to follow in their example.  In where we have gone, now I have a family of my own.  In what I write, also.  Stepping-out, not knowing where the path leads, not knowing what lies ahead...

If you are in the 3%, you need to be discipled in different ways; need to learn to be still and to listen for the leading of the Holy Spirit: faith is not recklessness, which endangers yourself and your companions for vain glory.  But in the much more likely case that you are part of the 97%, you are in good company: 97%, including almost every hero of faith down through the ages.  If you are part of the 97% you need to be discipled in this way: choose obedience – it will cost you everything, but it will be, in the truest sense, glorious.

1 comment:

  1. A friend of mine made the observation that they think they used to be one of the 3% but think they are now one of the 97%. If our natural disposition to risk is 'wired' our behaviour may differ because behaviour can be learnt - and reinforced, by positive or negative experience - BUT it is also possible to be 're-wired,' which goes beyond simply learned behaviour.

    So who we are can change in this regard over time, as indeed who we are changes in many different regards. What matters is that we keep following Jesus - neither running ahead, nor refusing to come. And so, for those of us who move from the 3% to the 97%, or from the 97% to the 3%, what we need to attend to in order to follow - how we need to be discipled - will also change.