One of the most common areas in which we often hear about risk is the business world. The primary goal of most businesses is to make money, and properly handling risk is a big part of achieving that goal. Many large companies have an entire department dedicated to risk analysis. When a company has a decision to make – whether it’s introducing a new product, changing their prices, or entering a new market, they perform a risk assessment. By revealing the most probable outcome of each possible move, a risk assessment essentially tells the company whether or not they should move forward with the decision. One of the most important areas of this study is the assessment of what are known as “unintended consequences”. Maybe you’ve heard of them. Unintended consequences are results of a decision that were not intended by purposeful action.
One of the best examples of this is a law Mexico City passed to improve their pollution problem. City leaders decided that the obvious way to reduce pollution was to reduce the number of cars on the road. So they passed a law that limited citizens from driving on certain days of the week. Depending on the last number on your license plate, you may or may not be allowed to drive on a given day. Sounds like a great plan, right? Less cars on the road, less pollution. After several months, city officials studied the change in the amount of pollution. You can imagine the shock on their face when they discovered that there was an increase in pollution. How? Why? Unintended consequences. People were buying more cars with different license numbers so they could keep driving every day! There were actually more cars on the road every day after the law than before! The solution to the problem made the problem worse!
Crazy story, I know. But how does this apply to us? Well think about it this way. As you think about taking a risk – that risk you know you need to take but are afraid to, think about the unintended consequences. You might feel like jumping out of the boat and following what you feel God is telling you to do is a big risk. And you are right, it is. But don’t be fooled into believing that you have avoided any risk by sitting still and not moving. As a matter of fact, the risk may well be far greater than the tangible risk that is keeping you paralyzed with fear. By not risking your comfort and safety in favor of God’s will for your life, you aren’t avoiding risk, you are actually risking EVERYTHING. You are risking the chance to reach your full potential in Him. You are risking missing out on one of the biggest opportunities of your life. Sure, you might be more comfortable at times, but are the unintended consequences of missing out worth it? I don’t think so.