Are you willing to take these four risks for God? If not all four yet, start with at least one.
Jesus once promised His followers that “‘‘a servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours” (John 15:20), but that comes with something positive because Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:10). Are we willing to risk being persecuted? Remember that it brings blessings with it, as Jesus again says, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12).
Would you want to volunteer to be hated? Try asking for a show of hands when asking, “How many here would volunteer to be hated?” You’d probably have no takers. But Jesus reminds us that if we follow Him, they will hate us, and it’s “because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19). Don’t let the risk of being hated stop you, “for to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21).
Risking for Rewards
When Solomon wrote, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days” (Eccl. 11:1), he may have been thinking of giving to those in need and then being blessed by their generosity, and “after many days [they] will find it.” Jesus said that if you give, “it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38). That sounds like a return investment on taking a risk today for the kingdom of God.
Risking for Souls
Most Christians should know about the high calling that every believer has to go into the world and make disciples of all people, and that includes teaching them to observe what Jesus taught the disciples to observe (Matt. 28:19-20). Jude said we should “have mercy on those who doubt” (Jude 1:22) but to “save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” (Jude 1:23). It’s worth it to rescue the perishing, isn’t it? It’s worth being hated for His name’s sake, isn’t it? That’s a risk we should all be willing to take. We were called out of the darkness into the light, to go back into the darkness as a light.
Great rewards come for those who take great risks for God. If it is done for His glory, then God will bless whatever you are doing. So whether you face persecution for your faith, end up being hated for Christ, are willing to risk to gain eternal rewards and risk rejection from those who will perish apart from Christ, I would ask, should we not be willing to take risks for God?
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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