Faith, Hope and Love, or as Jaggard sees it, Risk, Optimism and Compassion. This is the message of life change presented in “Spark”. Jaggard encourages his readers to reach into the territory of risk to develop oneself, and to develop others.
When I first picked up Jaggard’s book entitled “Spark”, I knew a little about the spark groups that he had developed, but I was unaware of the intentionality of the groups. Creating a small group of support for taking risks, toward fulfilling what God can do through you is the idea. While I liked the idea, it seemed nice, but not fully life changing. It seemed quaint, but not theologically driven. It seemed like a great tool, but not a calling in itself.
However, when I sat down to grasp what he was speaking about, a nice idea is not what I found. I found a depth of theological call for the church to drive themselves into faith (seems obvious), but faith in God’s faithfulness in your risks. It appears that faith is stepping out in ourselves for God to accomplish what He has birthed in us. Perhaps the risk is not a blazing fire, but a simple spark. When we try to remove risk, we become God in our lives. Jaggard asks, “How often do we rob God of the joy of being God in our lives?” We remove risk, we remove friction, but we get weaker by doing so.
Perhaps my favourite thought Jaggard produces is a fresh exegesis of the story of the talents (old school money) that Jesus teaches us about. The story goes that 3 individuals received large sums of money from their master. It appears that the master wanted to see how they would deal with it. One was given about one million dollars, the second, two million and to the third, five million. Then he left town to allow them the freedom to dream.
The one with the 5 million invested it and made another 5. The man with the 2 million also doubled it. But the guy with the one million felt that the trust his master gave to him was to not squander the money but protect it. He did not appear to want to trust his own strengths and abilities with the market, but be found faithful with the money, giving back to his master what was entrusted to him. (This is a typical Christian thought. We must be found faithful with what God has given to us and not risk with it, that would be selfish.)
When the master returned, he praised the 2 guys that made the money through risk. But he was disgusted with the guy who took no risk. It seemed that being reliable was not good at all. In fact Jesus said that this was a display of wickedness. To not risk with what your master has given you then, appears to not only be silly, but is evil.
Jaggard taught me that to simply remove risk, or to remove the potential for evil, is a lack of faith. He states that holiness is not just the absence of evil, but of greatness. Greatness does not come from a lack of bad, but growth towards great. Holiness as the absence of evil is not inspiring or accurate. A watermelon is holy if just not doing anything wrong is holy. But holiness is greatness. This greatness comes as we chase after God and who He has created us to be.
In writing this review, I am taking a risk. I am risking that no one reads it. But greater than that, I’m risking that someone does read it. (Perhaps my greatest risk is I didn’t get anyone to edit this post before posting it especially since the return button does not seem to be working.) But I am playing to the desire in my heart to have others hear of some great news that Jesus has spoken to me through Jaggard. I hope, and I’m optimistic that God can speak to others through this book too.