“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
-1 Corinthians 15:58
Does it make sense to take risks? If you’re like me, you’re probably someone who would prefer to take the option with the higher guaranteed outcome. If about driving, it means waiting that extra several seconds until I’m sure I can make the turn instead of gunning it, turning quickly, and hoping for the best. When it comes to stocks in a board game my family plays, it means choosing those with a history of slow and steady growth over stocks that could potentially go way up (or way down!) in a single turn.
Yet sometimes, there is a danger with this mentality carrying over into things it shouldn’t. There are several great instances where caution is to be valued over risky decisions. But one area this shouldn’t be so is in our life as Christians. In fact, it makes sense to take risks for the gospel.
The victory is won. No guilt in life, no fear in death!
“For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (v.16-19).
Paul writes this section addressing the view of those who say there is no resurrection of the dead- but, as he points out, if that is so, then Christ is not raised. And what is the result? “We are the most pitiable of men if our hope in Christ doesn’t extend beyond this life.”
Paul launches into his next segment. “But, Christ is risen from the dead..!” Friends, our faith is rooted in actual events that occurred. Our Savior lives. Though death came through Adam, all can be made alive through Christ. “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (vs. 25-26). Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (vs. 57).
We should be willing to take risks for the gospel because in the end, we have nothing to lose. Our Savior is risen. No matter what the Lord calls us to do, our hope extends past this life. The battle is won.
We are all dying, quite literally. I am closer to death now than I was when I began to write this post. In the history of earth that reaches back thousands of years, our life is a dot, usually less than a hundred years. That is not a long time.
Verses 30-31: “And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour [if the dead do not rise]? I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” Paul was faced with this reality every day. Shipwrecked, stoned, beaten, etc…this man had been through it all. Yet, Paul was willing to take that risk for the gospel because of the confidence he had in it and in Him. He, and many other Christians with him, “stood in jeopardy every hour.” It is because of our risen Savior that we can stand in jeopardy every hour.
We must be willing to take risks for the gospel, to do what Christ calls us to do. Maybe it’s mission work in a hostile country. Perhaps it’s prison ministry here in the USA. Or maybe it’s fostering and adopting kids from a nearby city and raising them in the instruction of the Lord. Christ has conquered death, the ultimate enemy. We have nothing to fear. The grave could not hold the King.
The other day, I heard a great quote: “You arrived too late and will leave too early for life to be all about you.” This really resonated with me. Life is about the Lord and His salvation. That’s it. The above statement is absolutely true- let’s live for Christ wholeheartedly. When He calls us out of the boat and onto the stormy sea, let’s jump. In verse 32b, Paul says, “If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!'” In other words, if Christ did not rise, let’s live for ourselves.
But, Christ is risen, and that changes everything. We must be about His work. Let’s take risks for our King because He is our risen Savior.