When I think of someone being a risk taker, immediately my mind goes to Extreme Sports adventures such as BASE jumping, whitewater canoeing, ice climbing, wing suit skydiving, free running, slacklining, cliff diving, and a many others. Folks involved in such escapades are risking injury or loss as they seek for the next extreme rush of excitement.
In recent days, I’ve been reading 1 Corinthians and have been stirred by the words of a genuine risk-taker, the Apostle Paul. He was a gospel risk-taker! His life, motivated by the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14), was lived for the sake of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:23).
For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! . . . For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings (1 Corinthians 9:16, 19-23).
Then we read in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 the dangers he endured in his risk-taking adventures of advancing the gospel. With far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food ,in cold and exposure. Now that’s extreme adventure, or dare I say, extreme sports?
You want an exciting quest? You want an emotional rush? Be a risk-taker for the gospel! Be willing to really put your life on the line! Forget about what men think of you and consider your character before God and share the gospel with family, workers, strangers and friends. Join up with a team and go on a mission’s trip to some remote area of the world. Get involved in the lives of those who are forsaken, hurting, abused, trashed, and shackled by the grip of sin.
Jumping off a cliff only gives you a chance to expand your ego. Being a gospel risk-taker gives you the opportunity for reward in Heaven with eternal ramifications. Ice climbing may result in a few clapping for you when you reach the summit, but when you have the opportunity to see a lost soul come to Christ, you are privileged to join the saints and angels in the heavenly chorus of rejoicing that once again has eternal significance.
So, what kind of risks will you take today for the gospel’s sake?