The following is contributed by a B4Ter in the Arab world.
Hernando Cortez was famous for the legend of landing in South America with only 700 men and an ambitious goal of conquering the continent for Spain. In order to ensure his men didn’t retreat in the face of new dangers, diseases, and uncertainties, he made them burn their boats. Burning the boats, then, has become a battle cry for boldness and an all-in approach.
In a sense, B4T’ers are like Cortez (but hopefully without the desire for tons of gold). We have to burn our boats as soon as we land amongst the unreached where we live, because if our boats are still there after we learn how difficult it will be to start businesses in these places many of us would hop right back in those boats and sail home.
We don’t want to live reckless lives, but we don’t want to live riskless lives either. The problem with living recklessly is that we try to control too much. On the contrary, those who live riskless lives have cynically given up the illusion of control and choose to throw everything to the wind. Burning the boats can be a reckless move, and it can remove options from the table later. Yet, sometimes burning the boats may be exactly what God is wanting us to do. Think things through, pray things through, and walk in the resulting wisdom. Yet, we must also ensure we aren’t living riskless lives, always leaving backup options for ourselves to make sure we never get too hurt or never face the possibility of “losing everything.”
There is a careful balance here, and I am not advocating setting everything in your life on fire to ensure that you don’t walk away from His calling. But I am advocating an “all-in,” faith-in-His-future-grace approach where every day you go further inland without the backup plan of heading back to the beach if things go south.
If you haven’t yet gone overseas but are planning to, I would challenge you to think through this concept for your own life. Are you planning too many backup strategies? Are you planning enough backup strategies? The answer isn’t simple, and it will never be the same for any two people. The answer will come from following God’s plan for your life and understanding where He wants to challenge your faith. Enjoy!