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Take a risk

Baird encourages youth to follow Jesus, not play it safe

July 26, 2010

A man in a black shirt standing on a stage with his arms raised.

The Rev. Graham Baird —Photo by Bethany Furkin

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who play it safe and those who take risks. So said the Rev. Graham Baird, preaching July 23 at the Presbyterian Youth Triennium.

"Play-it-safers" don’t hang out with unpopular kids, choose profitable careers and marry people who will make them look good, Baird said. But "risk-takers" hang out with those on the margins, choose careers that inspire them and marry those they love.

Preaching from John 3: 1-5, Baird spoke about Nicodemus. Jesus told him that he can't play it safe if he wants to be born again.

"All the people who followed Jesus were great risk takers," Baird said.

Many of the parents who sent their youth to Triennium probably did so because they saw it as a safe way for teens to spend a week. But coming to Triennium — like any choice to follow Jesus — isn’t safe.

The world will try to get you to play it safe, Baird told the thousands of youth gathered for worship. Teenagers face incredible amounts of peer pressure — more so than any other age group. But peer pressure never changes. Everyone has experienced it at some point. What can change is how one reacts to it.

"My prayer for this denomination is that we would become a risk-taking denomination," Baird said.

These risks don’t need to come in our theology or in our doctrine, but in our lives. "The reason we should risk is because Jesus risked for us," he said. "It is the risk worth taking."

An offering was collected during the service. The money raised will be split between the Presbyterian Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Hearts with Haiti.

  1. Financially, we take calculated risk seeking reward. In faith we risk popularity seeking the freedom of true meaning in life. I agree we do it in response to grace. Or perhaps as a result of grace. But I seek a more popular way to describe this motivation...

    by David Vernon

    July 27, 2010

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