In a recent blog, I made a statement that Christianity is dangerous. It is so dangerous that the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) says 900,000 Christians have been ‘martyred’ in the last decade, equating to 90,000 a year and one every six minutes.
How’s that for just believing in Jesus. Jesus did tell us that we would be persecuted and killed, but most Christians in the West have little to no threat of that ever happening. I am amazed in many Christian circles that we accent on safety; we are so safety conscious, we program everything. I don’t want you to think I am against safety because I am not, however, loving Jesus is not safe by any stretch of the imagination. Jesus told His disciples that the road they were traveling on with Him would not be safe:
Luke 6:22 Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
From the Book of Revelation, we know that Satan has made war against Israel and the Church:
Revelation 12:17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.
So, the safety factor seems to be at a low ebb and the risk of following Jesus has heightened. One preacher once said, “If you are not bothered by the Devil, it means you are not much risk to him, and he allows you to stay safe in your bubble of silent Christianity.”
For some time, I have believed that if the church becomes lukewarm like the Laodicean Church in Revelation 3, it would take some serious persecution to shake up our apathetic and indifferent spirits. Lukewarm is a balance between the Lord and the culture and they offset each other to be neutral. Something lukewarm is safe; it is neither too hot nor too cold … it is safe. God doesn’t want lukewarm or safe Christians. He is looking for people who are determined to be anything but lukewarm.
Revelation 3 15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Safe always removes the risk. Yet the stories in the Bible are never about being safe … they are always about taking a risk. Israel took a risk to come out of Egypt, and when it got hard many of them wanted to go back to Pharaoh’s court where it was safe. Joshua took a risk and conquered the land by going to war. None of the Prophets played it safe … they delivered their messages and sometimes they were imprisoned or killed. Most of the disciples were martyred for preaching the Gospel. They all took risks and went into the entire world with the message of Jesus.
I don’t think you can live the Christian life and play it safe. The Scriptures are too convicting to let us simply play it safe. In fact, Jesus took a parable about the safety and the risk of investment. We all know the story of the talents … each of the participants was given a sum of money to invest, and each did so and resulting in interest on the investment. There was one who played it ‘safe’ and hid the investment in the backyard. Listen to what Jesus said to this safe person:
Matthew 25 24He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.’
God invests in us an investment. He wants us to invest in others. He wants us to take what He has given us and risk it in others with the hope it will bring a return of people coming to Christ. Hiding talents, gifts, and resources that God has given to us is a safe way of keeping what you have been given, but that is not God's plan. He gives to us so that we can give to others. He forgives us so that we can forgive others. He loves us so we can love others. He gives, so we can give, and if we play it safe and keep all that God has given to us, it is no different than the man who was given one talent and buried it.
Risk is about trusting God and having faith to see what He does with our trust. Safe is retreating from any risk of trusting God and being content with playing it safe. Not for me.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler
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