Many years ago I because interest in how the stock market worked.  It became a self-study project – an attempt on my part to learn everything I could about how the stock market works.  I studied all the terms and concepts that you hear a financial analysts use when they appear on the nightly news.

All this self-education was taking place during a period when several well-known companies were on the verge of making their Initial Public Offering (they were first becoming open to outside investment).  These companies included Yahoo, Amazon, and eBay.  Now here is what I was able to do with my knowledge.  With an investment of only $1000 I was able to create a portfolio of $6327 in only three months.  Not bad, eh?  There was only one problem.  The profits were all on paper, or should I say pixels.  You see I had receive a free software program.  With that software and a simple internet connection I could pretend to play the market.  I owned a dummy investment account, filled with dummy money, all designed with an investment dummy like myself in mind.  Any losses would not be real losses.  Any gains would not be real gains.

You’ve heard the old saying, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained!”  I didn’t assume the risk – so I didn’t reap the rewards.  Even after reviewing my success, I never took the plunge.  I remained unwilling to risk.

The willingness to risk.  That’s what God is trying to build into my life.  Could that be what God is trying to build into your life?

An ancient door with a rough hewn, rectangular opening hacked in the center of it can be found on display in the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland.  A little over 500 years ago, in 1492, two prominent Irish families, the Ormonds and the Kildares, were in the midst of a bitter feud.  Besieged by Gerald Fitzgerald, the Earl of Kildare, Sir James Butler, the Earl of Ormond, and his followers took refuge in the chapel house of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

As the siege wore on, the Earl of Kildare concluded that the feud was foolish.  Here were two families who worshipped the same God, in the same church, in the same country, in the same community, and yet they were trying to kill each other.  After some thought he called Sir James to come out and, as an inscription in St. Patrick’s says today, “Undertoake on his honour that he should receive no villanie.”

Afraid of “some further treachery,” however, Ormond did not respond.  So Kildare seized his spear, cut a hole in the door and thrust his hand through.  It was grasped by another hand inside the church.  The door was opened and the two men embraced and made peace.  From Kildare’s noble gesture came the expression “Chancing one’s arm.” (Heard this story from Dr. Roy Honeycutt)

“Risking the arm” that’s what we are called to do.  To reach out despite all the risk in the hope of a huge return on our investment.

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