Summary: God wants to transform us from loss-avoiders to champions.
Avoiding Loss or Becoming a Champion?
1. Loss aversion means instead of playing to win, we play not to lose. We get much more misery from losing $100 than we get joy from being given $100. One authority writes;
2. “For example, ever wonder why retail clothing stores have those helpful bags and baskets for gathering all your potential purchases? Retailers know that once you have held an item in your hand, you’re psychologically tied to it and you don’t want to give the item up. The longer you have it in your possession, the stronger that connection, and the more you are unwilling to part with your new stuff.” [Source: Money Ning]
3. The reason that free three month trials work…
4. You cannot give up clutter for the same reason: loss aversion.
5. Travel miles to save 2 cents a gallon for gas; buy a car for 20K to get better 25% better mileage than your paid-off car…Renew warranties that replicate cost of item…
6. This irrational behavior can easily become our posture for life. It can be the way we handle our finances, our businesses, even our churches. We become more concerned about losing something that we are about gaining something. I struggle with this.
Main Idea: God wants to transform us from loss-avoiders to champions.
I. We Are Often VICTIMS Although By-Standers (Judges 6:1-10)
A. The faithful suffered along with the UNFAITHFUL
• Israel’s defeat at Ai (Achan’s sin)
• We suffer because of the choices our society at-large makes
B. The goal: to SURVIVE, not thrive
C. Sometimes we have no CHOICE
1. Some people have victim-like personalities
2. Most have taken the role the hard way; e.g., Children brought up in abusive homes: must develop survival strategies.
3. For years people said of the Third World, “Let them get jobs…” no jobs
4. It is too easy to condemn others who struggle in ways we do not…
D. We have a choice: remain victims or let Jesus help us become VICTORIOUS
Application: We cannot control what others do or control everything that happens to us. Many people become control freaks as a result; but we have to learn to trust God
II. Our FOCUS Can Easily Become AVOIDING Loss (10-18)
A. Gideon was threshing in HIDING
1. A reasonable response in certain situations
2. But Gideon was stuck there; this was normal to him…
3. One thing to live in defeat, another to settle there…
B. He could not consider VICTORY because he was absorbed with loss
1. By loss, I mean not only a death, but loss of health, looks, friendship, spouse, talent, wealth, job, hope, time, a dream, or even a stage of life (like empty nest)
2. When we have a loss – whether our fault or not – we become a victim
3. We need to grieve our losses and not deny them; cannot short-circuit grieving
4. Eventually we reach a fork in the road: dedicate ourselves to (1) live in past and doldrums, (2) reclaim what we lost, or (3) go on in God’s new direction for us
5. We also choose an attitude toward life: avoiding loss or gaining blessing
C. A DEFENSIVE posture is sometimes necessary, but…
D. Most of Us Are Obsessed with Loss AVOIDANCE
1. The good side: CAUTION
a. The fear spectrum
b Proverbs and caution
2. The bad side: CONFINEMENT
1. Too much caution and fearfulness
2. Too much planning
3. Commitment to the status quo
4. Loss avoidance can actually create worse situations
Avoiding Loss may seem conservative, but it can create all sorts of bad results.
Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior “In the 1970’s, Captain Jacob van Zanten was KLM’s most esteemed pilot. He was their chief flight instructor and even appeared in KLM advertising.
“On a flight to the Canary Islands in March of 1977, van Zanten’s 747 was diverted to a smaller, nearby airport. After several frustrating delays, van Zanten — driven by an obsession to get back on schedule — started to take off in thick fog without full takeoff clearance. What he didn’t know was that a fully loaded Pan Am 747 was sitting on the runway, directly in his path.
“The KLM jumbo smashed into the Pam Am plane. Everyone on board the KLM flight was killed, as were most of those on the Pan Am flight. There were 584 fatalities – the worst air disaster ever. And it was caused mainly by the KLM pilot’s obsession with living up to KLM’s claim of being “the people who made punctuality possible”. In other words, avoiding a loss.” [source: http://www.cardinalpath.com]
III. Instead of Loss Avoidance, We Can EXERCISE Faith (19-32)
A. Began with ENCOUNTERING God (19-24)
1. I sometimes wonder how well we know God