Summary: Risk is always easier to walk through when you feel like the deck is stacked in your favor. It’s easy to gamble a few bucks when you have a few hundred more in your back pocket. It’s easier to risk speaking the truth to a complete stranger than risk tel

Today is part three in my World Poker Tour series and today I need to ask you this question: When is the right time to take a risk? When is it time to move ahead, to step up to the plate, to throw in your cards and go all in? In the first week of this series we talked about going all in. Last week we talked about what to do when you only have one card left. It was a message of hope and where to find it. Today we are back at the table and maybe today is your day. Maybe today is the day that you decide to make your move.

Risk is always easier to walk through when you feel like the deck is stacked in your favor. It’s easy to gamble a few bucks when you have a few hundred more in your back pocket. It’s easier to risk speaking the truth to a complete stranger than risk telling the truth to your best friend. It’s simple to risk neglecting your flue shot than risk taking an experimental treatment that may make the difference between life and death. The difference between the big risks and the little risks is the size of the pot. Sometimes you have the privilege of making your move on your own time and sometimes you are forced to make a play.

A friend and I were talking the other day and he told me that he hates his job. He said that it pays well but he hates the hours he has to put in. Some days he works five hours and the next day he works twelve hours. Sometimes he works six days a week and last year he even worked seven days in a row for a month. He works so hard that he has little time left over for himself and his friends. On one hand he wants to quit and on the other hand he needs the money to pay his bills. He wants to quit but feels that his options are limited. He doesn’t know what to do. When should he make his move?

Another friend of mine and I were talking and she wants to buy a house. She is having trouble saving money and is worried that if she buys a house she won’t be able to afford it. She wants to find a place to call home but everything just seems so expensive. She has gone over her numbers dozens of times trying to make them make sense and no matter how many calculations she comes up with she is still afraid to do anything. Instead of taking action she just goes to work and comes home everyday just like she did last year and the year before just hoping that something will change. When should she make her move?

I think that we need to take risks in life and for some of us that comes easier than others. But before throw in our cards and hope for the best I think we need to take a look at someone who has been there.

In the Old Testament there is a book called Nehemiah. It’s a fascinating book that offers you and me a great deal of wisdom when it comes to risk taking. Nehemiah wasn’t born a king or a ruler. He was born into an average family that served the king. Nehemiah’s official title was “cupbearer.” He was a cupbearer to the king which meant that his job was to make sure that the king always had a full glass of whatever he was drinking. He had a pretty good life as cupbearer to the king and probably could have lived out the rest of his life as an average citizen. He could have raised his kids and loved his wife and met his social commitments but he felt compelled to do more. He felt compelled to make a move that would change his life and alter the course of history forever.

The problem: Nehemiah’s extended family was in trouble.

“The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire." When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 1:1-4 NIV

Nehemiah was born into a Jewish family that lived far away from Jerusalem; the Jewish cultural and religious center of activity. But he still had a keen interest in what happened in Jerusalem and it bothered him to see it lie in ruins. The city lye in ruins because years earlier the Jews had been conquered and the invading army destroyed the city hoping to wipe out the Jews. But after the forced exile many o the Jews migrated right back to Jerusalem because they felt that God himself had given them this city as a home place. The city wasn’t much to go back to though. The protective wall around the city had been torn down and everything else was just in shambles.

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