Following Christ can be dangerous. But as John Piper argues in Risk is Right, the ephemeral dangers are completely obliterated in the light of the unspeakable rewards that await those who risk all for Christ.
This was brought home to me in two ways. First, Nancy Writebol quoted the words from Risk is Right that speak these truths so eloquently:
There are a thousand ways to magnify Christ in life and death. None should be scorned. All are important. But none makes the worth of Christ shine more brightly than sacrificial love for other people in the name of Jesus. If Christ is so valuable that the hope of his immediate and eternal fellowship after death frees us from the self-serving fear of dying and enables us to lay down our lives for the good of others, such love magnifies the glory of Christ like nothing else in the world.
What makes this amazing is that Nancy is an ebola survivor; she took a huge risk to help others through Christ’s love to her own personal safety.
But the second way was that I was reminded of Nancy’s statement by a missionary that we support at Zion. Serving in the dangerous area of the world known as the 10/40 window, this missionary passionately embraces Nancy’s outlook, as well as Piper’s, that the risk their family is taking is worth it, because Jesus is worthy of everything, even our lives.
Often, this kind of super-missionary activity renders the average rank-and-pew member of church a bit dejected. Who can keep up with a 10/40 window-missionary or an ebola survivor? But this is what I so appreciate from my missionary friend, was that he closed his thoughts this way: “… but one thing I have learned – going overseas is not nearly as hard as sharing Jesus with people you love who may not agree with you.” He goes on to say that no matter where you are, sharing Christ can take courage – whether in the 10/40 window or in your back yard. And for the believer who has been united to Christ, we can look to Him for our boldness. We join the Apostle Paul, who asked “pray on my behalf… that I would open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel” (Ephesians 6:19). May we share faithfully the risky message of Christ in His boldness.
* * *
If you’re looking for more on this gospel risk, I’d encourage you to look more at Piper’s Risk is Right at Desiring God. There you can order the book, download a free PDF, view a video, and more.