Over the past several months I have had the pleasure of meeting with a young church leader. Just a few months ago his home church tapped him to step into a full-time role for which he was not prepared. They knew him well, watched his life and considered him worthy of the position. The problem for him was, this was not a role for which he had prepared. When he entered college, his intent was to pursue ministry but in a completely different lane. The past four years had prepared him generally for ministry, but he had no specific training for the role he currently fills. Over cups of coffee, we strategize, talk about ministry purpose, disciple-making focus and service opportunities. We wrestle with obstacles and discuss together how he can be the leader his church needs.
At 24 you have little to lose and everything to prove. Mistakes can be corrected and people extend grace because they assume we just didn’t know any better. Deep down we want to prove that we know what we are doing and deserve to have a seat at the table. At our core we want to prove that we are worthy. The older we get it seems the need to prove ourselves worthy starts to wain but the need to protect what we have takes precedence. We don’t want to lose our position or respect. Our ability to control situations, outcomes and direction have significant value so we choose to protect our reputation, our position, and status.
I try to start most meetings with the phrase a friend taught me… “Nothing to Lose. Nothing to Prove.” I start that way to defuse any need to save face or prove something. For the sake of full transparency, I generally feel the need to prove that I’m worth talking to and have something of value to offer. I have the sneaking suspicion that I’m not alone. Who wants to be transparent? Who wants to admit that they are not all that great? Mediocre at best. So I start with this phrase more for me than the others I’m meeting with. I need the reminder. I need to preach the gospel to myself in that moment and reflect the gospel truth to those I interact with. The truth is that in Christ I have nothing to lose and nothing to prove. And neither do they.
You know this, but let’s say it again and again – at the cross our Savior lost everything. All was laid bare. Everything he had was ripped away. He chose to lose everything, even life itself, so that we didn’t have to. His loss secured for us salvation, restoration and hope. And at the grave he proved that he is who he said he is. The Almighty. The Victor. The Risen King. Not even death could defeat him. End of story. Nothing left to prove.
Friends, this is why we have nothing to lose and nothing to prove with each other. All that we have comes from Him and is for Him. Any position, experience, knowledge, and expertise are gifts from his hand to be used for his glory not ours. May Isaiah 26:8 be said of us: “Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.”
As followers of Jesus, we are set free to walk into every situation with the gospel posture of… nothing to lose, nothing to prove.
So the next time you meet a friend over coffee, lead an elder meeting, sit on the corner of your sons bed or gather at the dinner table, lean in fully to the good news of Christ. Your gospel posture allows you the freedom and pleasure of Philippians 2 servanthood. An attitude of “nothing to lose” provides the alter for Romans 12 worship. A mindset of “nothing to prove” supplies the openness to embody 2 Corinthians 4:5. If I could go back in time to visit my 24 year old self, this is who I would want to be for him over a cup of coffee. These are the the kind of leaders I would introduce him to. I wanted that then and I want that now.Who is it in your life that needs that from you?
What are you waiting for? Nothing to lose. Nothing to prove.