“Cast your bread upon the waters” means be a risk-taker when it comes to giving. (Pixabay)

Commentary

3 Reasons to Be a Relational Risk-Taker in 2016

People are certainly unpredictable. But it’s people who really matter.

Editor’s note: Commentaries are intended to express the richness and variety of informed and responsible Adventist opinion on current issues. They do not necessarily convey the viewpoint of the Adventist Review editorial team or the General Conference.

, co-director, Light Bearers

There are definitely moments in which you ought to be careful, calculated, and cautious. And there are moments in which you ought to cast caution to the wind and be a big-time risk-taker.

Yeah, be cautious as a driver. Relax — please. Being late is better than being dead.

If you live in the United States, be ever so careful when you cast your vote for a politician in this year’s circus-like political elections. Seriously, it’s out of control with ridiculousness.

And definitely be calculated if you are an investor in today’s market. Turns out, as we all now know, that in many cases criminals are running the financial systems of our world.

Ah, but when it comes to love, be a risk-taker.

People are certainly unpredictable. But it’s people who really matter nonetheless.

Put yourself out there. Be willing to be embarrassed by rejection. Then pick yourself up and try again.

No doubt about it: people are naturally self-serving and often take advantage of the good guy. Still be the good guy no matter what.

Yes, yes, yes: Forgiveness hurts. But it’s still the only way to healing, perhaps for them, but definitely for you. Do it. Let that person off the hook.

King Solomon realized the risk-return nature of reality in Ecclesiastes 11:1-4:“Cast your bread upon the waters,for you will find it after many days.Give a serving to seven, and also to eight,for you do not know what evil will be on the earth.If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth;and if a tree falls to the south or the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap” (NKJV).

Here’s my breakdown of what the wise king is saying:

“Cast your bread upon the waters”: Be a risk-taker when it comes to giving.

“For you will find it after many days”: All good actions pay off in the end.

“Give a serving to seven, and also to eight”: Give all you can, and then give a little more.

“For you do not know what evil will be on the earth”: The world is going down in flames, but don’t you be one of the evil ones that contributes to its demise.

“If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth”: Don’t hold back, but rather simply empty yourself out for others.

“And if a tree falls to the south or the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie”: If some of your efforts fail, so what? Even your failed efforts are worth it.

“He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap”: Don’t be too careful and calculating, but rather be a risk taker when it comes to doing good.

As you launch into the new year, here are three reasons to be a relational risk-taker:

1. Life is a sowing and reaping venture. Stuff generates stuff, both good and bad. Attitudes beget attitudes. Kindness begets kindness. Anger begets anger. Stinginess begets stinginess. Love begets love. Put into people what you want to see come out of them. Be to people the way you want them to be to others. Do the kinds of things you want to see flourish everywhere in the world.

2. Losing is not an option. This is the state of mind that defines all forward motion. Describing the mindset of the Messiah in His mission of love, Isaiah foretold, “He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth” (Isaiah 42:4). Persistence in doing good is the grand goal to be mastered by the followers of Jesus. Go ahead and get bummed when people don’t reciprocate. Go ahead and shed some tears. Go ahead and take some alone time to re-juice. But giving up on people is not an option. Get back on task being an indiscriminate doer of good things.

3. Love always wins in the end. In many cases, love will win the ones upon whom you lavish it. But even in those cases when it doesn’t, it will expand your emotional capacity and build you into a more beautiful person. Love — trudging forward through all the evil, meanness and ugliness of the world — is going to be the final form of the universe. Everything and everyone contrary to love will be banished from existence, and only the lovers will remain in the end to inhabit eternity.

May you have a risky and blessed new year! 


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