Being a great man requires risk.
We have been looking at the story of the men who carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus. Consider for a few moments what was going through the minds of these men? Do you suppose they had any doubts while they were carrying him through town? Did they wonder if this will work as they saw the crowd? Did they somehow convince the homeowner to allow them to cut a big hole in his roof or did they just do it? Imagine the murmurings and noises from the crowd as they interrupted Jesus’ teaching to lower him down. This was early in Jesus’ public ministry. What if Jesus wouldn’t or couldn’t heal the man? I wonder who repaired the man’s house? They exposed themselves to great risk.
After Jerusalem was overrun Daniel was one of the captives carried away. He was a young man brought to a foreign country in chains. He had seen horrible destruction and bloodshed. He knew the kind of evil that existed in the hearts of his captors. He had been selected to have three years of training to be qualified to serve the king. Part of that training was to eat food contrary to God’s law. Notice Daniel’s response: Dan 1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. When the kings officer protested Daniel devised a plan. Dan 1:12-13 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. “Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, [so] deal with your servants.” First Daniel trusted God to protect him against these barbarians. Then he trusted God to prove Himself true by keeping the four Hebrews healthy. Daniel put himself at great risk.
In these examples we see great risk being taken in two areas of life. For the men carrying their friend there was great risk in serving others. For Daniel there was great risk in staying true to God’s commands. Becoming a great man of God will not happen without risk.
When we step out in faith, there is an exposure to risk. When we stand up for Jesus on the job there is risk. Jesus warns us to count cost of following Him. An employer may want us to act in ways that are contrary to God’s word. There is a danger of a loss of promotion or job. When we lead our families in worship there is risk. We may have family members that are not willing to follow our lead. There is danger in experiencing a loss of fellowship. These and other risks are cost of being great in the kingdom. Luke 14:25-26, 33 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. … “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. This kind of singlemindedness is what Jesus meant by saying “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Right Next Step
Greatness cannot come without risk. If we are living a life without significant challenge or risk we are missing out on the greatness God has prepared for us. Challenge yourself and the men around you to be bold. When the early apostles were threatened they responded with boldness. Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. Taking risks in the kingdom is a sign of being with Jesus.