I will never forget the conversation. A good friend was telling me about a survey done with those who were in their 80’s. One of the questions posed was this: “What is your biggest regret in life?” The number one answer startled me. It wasn’t spending too much time at work or being too worried about money.
It was refusing to take risks. It was playing life too safe.
Life seems scary enough as it is with so many things that seem out of our control: the car accident, the cancer diagnosis, the job loss. Our inclination is to control what we can so as to prevent further harm or sadness. But that tendency to play it safe is exactly what lands us in regret. It also can put us on a collision course with God Himself.
The very act of faith is one of letting go of control and trusting our well-being to another. When God calls us to himself through Jesus, we have to take the risk to trust him with our lives and our salvation. We can’t rescue ourselves. But at some point, God always calls us into deeper trust and greater risk. He will call us out to do something to rescue others and build his kingdom.
The story of Abraham is a classic example of this. To inherit the blessing, he had to leave everything known and familiar. He had to set out with no directions, no roadmaps, no itinerary. On a human level, what he did was lunacy. But on the faith level, it was just obedience. And for Abraham, taking that risk to trust and obey changed everything for him. It also changed the course of redemptive history. When Abraham obeyed God’s call to go to a new land, it opened the door for the eventual formation of Israel, through whom Jesus Christ came. His obedience is the reason I am here writing this blog about him 4000 years later! Now along the way Abraham made mistakes, experienced trials, and saw God do some amazing things. But I can tell you one thing he never felt. Regret.
What is God asking you to do to build his kingdom? It could be starting a VBS for special needs children or writing to prisoners. It could be mentoring young married couples or starting a neighborhood Bible study. Yes, you will make mistakes along the way, experience setbacks and perhaps even opposition, but you will also see God do some amazing things.
But I can tell you one thing you will never feel.