Wednesday, February 07, 2007

risk management

Jeffrey Kluger, "Why We Worry About the Things We Shouldn't," in TIME magazine says:

As human beings, we pride ourselves on being the only species that understands the concept of risk. Yet we have a confounding habit of worrying about mere possibilities while ignoring probabilities—of building barricades against perceived dangers while leaving ourselves exposed to real ones.

For example, we agonize over the avian flu, which [as of December 2006] had killed precisely no one in the U.S., but have to be cajoled into getting vaccinated for the common flu, which contributes to the deaths of 36,000 Americans each year. White-knuckle flyers routinely choose the car when traveling long distances, heedless of the fact that, at most, a few hundred people die in U.S. commercial airline crashes in a year, compared with 44,000 killed in motor-vehicle wrecks.

We wring our hands over the mad cow pathogen that might be (but almost certainly isn't) in our hamburger, yet worry far less about the cholesterol that contributes to the heart disease that kills 700,000 of us annually. Shoppers still look askance at a bag of spinach for fear of E. coli bacteria while filling their carts with fat-sodden French fries and salt-crusted nachos.

We put filters on faucets, install air ionizers in our homes, and lather ourselves with antibacterial soap. At the same time, 20 percent of all adults still smoke; nearly 20 percent of drivers and more than 30 percent of backseat passengers don't use seatbelts; and two-thirds of us are overweight or obese.

In short, shadowed by peril as we are, you would think we'd get pretty good at distinguishing the risks likeliest to do us in from the ones that are statistical long shots. But you would be wrong.


Consider the application to our spiritual lives. Death is inevitable. It's the one thing that every human being is guaranteed to face. Last time I checked the death rate is 100%. You will one day be in a casket.

So my question: from a risk management standpoint, why do we spend so little time preparing for eternity? I believe there are only 3 things that will last forever:

1) God
2) His Word/Truth
3) The Souls of Mankind

Assuming this is correct (from a biblical perspective), what have you and I done today to make an investment in one (or all) of those 3 things?

I guess that's the point of Jeffrey Kluger's article. We get so caught up in the immediate, that we continually neglect the big picture issues.