Wednesday, October 8, 2014

You will never make much of life without taking risks ...

Most of us live well below the capacity God has endowed us with because we're risk-adverse people.

Another way of saying that is, we're afraid to take risks.

To hide that fact, we become very good at explaining how we want to be responsible and be good stewards. Yet, the reality is, we're just afraid of failing.

In order to accomplish much in life, we must take risks. But it is true that the risks we take should be thought through first. At least, that's what Jesus taught when He explained that we should first understand the cost of being His disciple ...

"But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, 'There's the person who started that building and and couldn't afford to finish it!' Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can't, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away," Luke 14:28-32.

By counting the costs first, we might avoid a bad risk, like starting a construction project that a little prior consideration would reveal we couldn't afford. But there are some risks worth taking, even when it costs us everything. That's revealed in the next sentence of this passage of scriptures ...

"So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own," Luke 14:33.

Jesus clearly and concisely reveals the cost of being His disciple: it will cost a person everything. But risking surrendering everything is worth it!

Pastor Adrian Rogers once said, "You have to get out on a limb, because that's where the fruit is."

To follow Christ is to risk surrendering everything and trusting Christ alone for life and all that we'll ever need. It means making available all that we have in service to Him and His kingdom. It means taking risks!

It does not mean adopting the attitude of the farmer ...

"Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest," Ecclesiastes 11:4.

We can wait so long for just the right time --- when risks are low --- that we never plant, never harvest, or never really follow Christ. There will never be a time when you can live as a disciple of Jesus Christ without facing risks.

John Henry Jowett, a great English preacher, pointed out the temptation of self-preservation and its result in faithfless lives ...

"It is possible to evade a multitude of sorrows through the cultivation of an insignificant life. Indeed, if a man's ambition is to avoid the troubles of life, the recipe is simple: shed your ambitions in every direction, cut the wings of every soaring purpose, and seek the life with the fewest contacts and relations. If you want to get through the world with the smallest trouble, you must reduce yourself to the smallest compass. Tiny souls can dodge through life; bigger souls are blocked on every side. As soon as a man begins to enlarge his life, his resistances are multiplied. Let a man remove his petty selfish purpose and enthrone Christ, and his sufferings will be increased on every side."

Hudson Taylor, the great man of faith who founded the China Inland Mission, overcame the issue of taking risks by integrating faith with risk. He said, "Unless there is an element of risk in our exploits for God, there is no need for faith."

God calls us to a life of faith, which means there will be risks. Taking the risk of following Christ will cost you everything. But making that leap of faith will be the best, most rewarding decision in your life.

What are you risking for Christ?

Scotty

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