Firewood for the Soul: Risk for Reward

by | Jun 17, 2024 | Formation, Reflections | 0 comments



It is a risk to pick up this reflection book and read this yarn.

We take a myriad of risks every day. Many of these daily risks are small and can seem inconsequential. The risk of stepping out of a warm, comfortable bed and placing our feet on the cold floor. The risk of watching that new TV show or movie that could be our next binge-able obsession, or that might leave us disappointed. The risk of that extra piece of chocolate. We assess and act on  these risks without thinking. There are also more substantial risks that can cause us greater degrees of anxiety, fear, or grief.

To discern God’s hopes and dreams for our lives, we must trust in the words of God and be ready to take risks from time to time. Risk-taking requires that we move out of our comfort zone with no guarantee of success. By taking calculated risks, we eventually overcome our fear of failure and replace them with the thrill of accomplishment.

There are reasons for everything that happens in our lives whether we perceive it as a success or a failure. In our failures, we can turn to God for strength. It can be helpful to remind ourselves that there can be learnings in our experiences of failures and that not every experience of failure has meaning or purpose. Most importantly, the insight of the Christian tradition is that God is always there with us, feeling the same emotions and enduring the same suffering. This is the promise of our unconditionally loving and incarnate God.

One of the common social goals of our time is to achieve happiness in our life. In the Gospels, there is the story of Jesus telling Simon (Peter) where to cast his net after many failed attempts. Like every fisherman, Simon was dreaming of a great catch. That great catch happened one day when he met Jesus. But, as Simon discovered at that moment, that abundant haul of fish did not give him the lasting happiness he was searching for. Even in that moment of great success, Simon was still not happy. He was missing something in his life.

Meeting Jesus, and recognising the greater gift present in Jesus, allowed Simon to realise that he had met the one who would help him find that missing piece. With Jesus, one discovers a life of true abundance.

In our success, we may come to distinguish the sustaining elements and from the passing ones. The hope is that we are not caught up by temporary success and lose the lasting happiness in our life. Let us be always open to God and God’s guidance – both in our successes and failures. Jesus is inviting us to endless possibilities. We have to see beyond our routine, embrace those risks and learn to walk with Jesus in faith, hope, and love.


  • What risks have we taken recently?
  • How does trust in God inform our ways of acting courageously, or doing new and different things?

From: Firewood for the soul, vol. 2, A Reflexion Book for the Whole Vincentian Family
St. Vincent de Paul Society, Queensland, Australia.
Text by: Samantha Hill and James Hodge.


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