Risk is Right (John Piper)


Piper, John. Risk is Right: Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2013, 64 pages.

John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For over 30 years, he served as Senior Pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota and has written more than 50 books.

In this work, Piper successfully argues that the ultimate aim of life is to honour and magnify Jesus Christ, then the meaningful life, the unwasted life, is a life in which it is right and good to risk everything for this ultimate goal. He is not trying to say that we should risk in a irrational, physical or foolish way but rather in a spiritual manner that brings glory to God. He supports his point in seven little chapters with many examples from the Bible.

After a foreword by David Platt, Piper starts out by saying that Jesus is very valuable but even though he risked his life for the sake of sinners. Why not risk our life for the sake of others as well? Jesus died so we could have eternal life that means we have not reason to fear anything in this world, not even death. But what is actually risk? The author defines risk as “an action that exposes you to the possibility of loss or injury” (p. 17). Surelly no one wants to experience loss or injury but who can guarantee that when we are safe not taking risks? Piper argues that we cannot play safe because the only one who never risks anything is God. He is the only one who knows the future. Everyone else must take risks regularly because we don’t know the future.

Piper reminds that in the Old Testaments many faithful people took risks that could have led them to death; and in the New Testament he shows how Paul and many others risked everything, including their own lives, to serve our Lord Jesus Christ. But are there wrong and right reasons to risk? According to Piper it will depend on whether you risk for God’s glory or for your own glory. When our motives are the lust for adventure, heroism or even a desire to earn God’s favour we might take risks for the wrong reasons. However when I “recognize that my greatest joy is indeed found in God’s greatest glory, and Christ is clearly a treasure worth losing and letting go everything for” (p.10) we risk for the right motives.

I totally recommend this book that contains a message that must be heard by those, in the church and out of it, who have their security not in Christ but in their comfortable zone. However I need to tell that this book is actually a chapter of the book titled Don’t Waste Your Life, also written by Piper. In other words this book is a repackaged one. So I would not recommend you to buy this book, Risk is Right, if you want to get the book, Don’t Waste Your Life in the future or vice verse. I hope that one these two books bless you and challenge you as they did to me.

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