One definition of a "risk taker" is: "A person who is not fearful of uncertainty and may even enjoy risky, speculative situations." While such a description is often applied to the world of business, there are certainly elements of it which apply to ministry!
I once heard a young bishop express concerns over approving a document for publication by the Bishops' Conference, because there were many questions for which no answers had yet been found. The bishop continued that, "We must not move forward until we have answers to every question." I was immediately struck by the difference between that young bishop's opinion, and the remarkable work done by the world's bishops at the Second Vatican Council. They opened so many doors, accepting that they did not have all the answers, and perhaps did not even know all of the questions! Consider the diaconate itself: There had not been a diaconate opened to married men for many centuries in the Latin church. The bishops knew that problems might emerge, but they also knew that this was the right course of action to take, and that problems would be resolved as they developed. While prudence would dictate thorough research on important matters, of course, I think that suggesting one must have answers to ALL questions goes to far, and quickly paralyzes us into inaction. Fear can freeze us in place. However, the emphasis with kenosis is on the self-giving, and not on the results of that gift.
So we come to the notion of "risk" and diaconal ministry. Deacons must be willing to extend themselves (perhaps another way of saying "pour themselves out"?) based on the needs of others, not by our own needs. That means we sometimes have to leave our personal comfort zones. A quarter of a century ago, when I was in formation for ordination, our formation director used to say that if he ever heard any of us say, "Oh, that's MY ministry," or "I don't do prison ministry; that's not MY ministry." He reminded us that it is not our ministry at all, but the ministry of Christ. Through ordination, we are called into a participation in the ministry of Christ, not a ministry of our own choosing.
I am NOT saying that a deacon must become competent in all areas of need! No one person could ever do such a thing. However, I am saying that the point of view of the deacon ought to be on the "other", the person in need as well as the structural causes for that need. It also means that the deacon must have a "deacon's eye" for spotting not only need, but for the persons who are best able to meet that need, and arrange a meeting between them; in other words, the deacon must know how to refer, to coordinate, to lead.
All of this involves a certain measure of risk, of going outside of our normal comfort zones. The point of reflection here is: "Am I, as deacon, a risk taker, or am I risk averse?" In terms of the description above, am I a person who "is not fearful of uncertainty" for the sake of others?