Have you ever taken a big risk? I’m not talking about eating your mom’s broccoli casserole after too many days in the fridge. I’m talking about something that could have only ended with a big win or a big disaster–Asking a girl to prom who has never talked to you. Pep-rally dance-off. Stealing second base in the last inning of the playoffs.
If you’ve ever gone all in, taken a big risk, there’s only one reason you did it. The payoff. For every risk, there’s the promise of a reward. If the reward is worth it, you just might be willing to do things you might otherwise never consider. Did you know that serving the people around you can be risky? Not only is there no guarantee of being successful and actually helping someone, but serving also means putting our comfort, our convenience, and our reputation on the line. On the other hand, choosing not to serve others has risks as well. Not only could we miss out, but those around us may go without something that they really need. Either way, there’s a lot on the line. So the question you have to ask is: Am I going to play it safe or am I going to go all in?
Session One: Give Something (January 14)
Bottom Line: You have the power to serve in a powerful way.
Let’s be honest, the subject of giving to help others makes us all a little nervous. It’s not that we don’t want to help others or give to the needy. It’s just that most of us feel like we don’t have much to offer. Maybe you have an allowance or a part-time job, but that doesn’t mean you’re exactly rolling in the dough. What can your two–or five, or even ten–bucks do to help someone, really? As a student, it’s easy to feel powerless when it comes to giving and serving others. But what if that isn’t true? What if we have more power to help others than we realize? What if giving isn’t as complicated as we make it? The book of Proverbs teaches that we all have the power to give. And by doing so, we may get more in return than we ever imagined.
Session Two: Do Something (January 21)
Bottom Line: Courageous > Comfortable
Humans love to comfortable. It’s why we invented air conditioners, sweat pants, and Snuggies. The problem is that sometimes our love of comfort hold us back from doing really great things. It’s why many of us are tempted to shy away from the idea of serving others. Serving can mean getting up early, giving up weekends, working really hard, and being around people you might otherwise avoid. It’s naturally uncomfortable. And yet people who serve seem to find it worth the risk every time. How is that possible? Jesus made it clear that people who serve (even in small ways) are a big deal to God. He even went as far as to say that serving another person is the same as serving Him. While His words won’t protect our comfort, they may just lead us toward something even better, something that will push us forward instead of holding us back: courage.
Session Three: Be Something (January 28)
Bottom Line: Being kind is a state of mind.
Have you noticed that there are a million shows on right now that have a group of people called “judges?” Whether it’s singing, dancing, or baking cupcakes, all of these shows have judges that watch the contestants’ every move. They evaluate, score, and criticize—as the entire world watches. Being a teenager can be brutal in the same way—you are surrounded by judges who constantly decide where you fit in the social system. It feels like everything you do or say or wear can affect your social ranking. Even being nice to someone of a different status is a huge risk. In one of his most famous parables, Jesus told a story that isn’t all that different. In a world of strict social categories, a man of lower status sees a man of higher status in need. And what he does demonstrates exactly what it means to go all in when faced with a risky social situation.