“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.” (Luke 10:2–4 NLT)
Let’s be honest: Discipleship can be risky!
Scripture contains many stories of devoted Jesus followers that do not end well from a human standpoint. At best, many are treated as outsiders or persecuted to varying degrees. At worst… let’s just say I wouldn’t think there would be line to join an organization where 11 of 12 charter members died premature deaths.
And no one knows this better than Jesus himself! His words above acknowledge it: he sends lambs among wolves. His life acknowledges it: he was persecuted, tortured, and killed… as a lamb… among wolves.
Is discipleship risky for us today? Most North Americans would probably say no. But that doesn’t mean there is zero risk. And I think we are foolish not to consider and prepare for the risks involved.
At WordServe Church, we have a stated value: Risk-taking as sacrificial worship. I’m guessing everyone gets the idea that risks involve sacrifice. But I think it would behoove Christians everywhere to talk about how we decide what risks to take for the Kingdom. If we don’t learn how to make these decisions through a Christian lens, then we may live at the two extremes of this tension. We may either:
– never risk because we haven’t spelled out a way to make a Christ-centered decision
– risk too much, because after all, Christ died; shouldn’t we do the same?
In the realm of theory, noble ideas thrive in our minds. But in the realm of reality, baser emotions cloud our actions. Don’t believe me? Try these discussion scenarios out with your friends:
– You want to make a difference for Christ in the inner city, where the crime rate is tripled from anywhere you’ve ever lived. This is awesome for you, but… do you take your family? How is this decision made?
– Your child is getting bullied at school. Do you leave them there to be salt and light? Or do you pull them out? How do you decide?
– Your company or organization is unethical. Do you stay to try to make a difference? Or do you move on?
I would love to hear your stories. How have you handled the issue of risk versus witness? Do you have criteria that you use to decide whether to risk, or to move on? How does Scripture, prayer, and wise counsel inform your decisions? Grab some friends and discuss, and then share with us all!