The Principle of the First Step

Peter Drucker said that people who don't take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. He then noted that people who do take risks generally make about ... two big mistakes a year.

Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho writes:
“Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps this person will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won’t suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow. But when that person looks back – and at some point everyone looks back – she will hear her heart saying, “What have you done with the miracles that God planted in your days? What have you done with the talents God bestowed on you? You buried yourself in a cave because you were fearful of losing those talents. So this is your heritage; the certainty that you wasted your life.” 
I don't know about you, but I don't want to waste my life.

Then again, I don't seem to be taking an awful lot of risks either. 

Currently I am teaching through Matthew 14.22-33 with The Gathering congregation at First UMC in Panama City. I am using John Ortberg's book If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to get Out of the Boat as a secondary text for the teaching.

This week we are going to explore the Principle of the First Step. The Principle works like this: In order to experience God's power in our lives, we oftentimes have to take the first step

It seems that God is pretty interested in our ability to trust him when it comes to the big decisions we face in life.

Like Peter in the Matthew text, a first step is oftentimes frightening and mysterious. But, frankly, that seems to be what the Bible means when it talks about faith.

Hebrews 11.1 says that "Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don't see." The writer of that letter goes on to say that "It is impossible to please God without faith." (v. 6)

So, apparetnly, this faith thing is pretty important.

Faith in the New Testament means something like "trustworthy action." It is much more than rational assertion to propositional truth claims. We hijack the word when we make it solely about belief. 

Peter trusted that if Jesus ordered him to walk on the water, he could walk on water.

And he did.

What is holding you back right now? What obstacles stand in your way of becoming the husband/wife, parent, leader, Christian etc. that you know you can be? What's it going to take to get you past those obstacles?

If we can identify the steps necessary; and we can really, sincerely trust God; and we can move past the fears that so often stop us from doing anything too risky or outside of our comfort zones; and we can take that first step ...

then and only then will we begin to change. Then and only then will we begin to grow and mature and become more fully human.

Peter could have set in that boat and thought to himself, "I wish I could walk out there on that water to Jesus. How cool would that be?" He could have read a good book on taking risks, or watched an inspiring movie about someone who resisted the status quo and saw great change take place. But he didn't do any do that. 

He just got out of the boat.

He just took the first step.

What step do you need to take today? 

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