Wanted: Hazardous Men & Women
By James Ryle www.truthworks.org
“Men who have hazarded their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 15:26).
Perhaps one of the greatest compliments ever paid one Christian by another occurred almost 2,000 years ago during a strategic meeting of the first disciples.
The spread of Christianity had been explosive, with new churches springing up all throughout the Roman Empire. The challenge of balancing dynamic growth with uncompromising quality was very real—and continues to be so today.
As the leaders in Jerusalem pondered how best to address this challenge, they chose two men to go forth with their blessings to represent Christ and His Gospel in the best possible way. They chose Barnabas and Paul, men who, as the record shows, “hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:26).
They “hazarded their lives.” O that such a thing could be said of you and me today!
The Greek meaning is “to surrender, i.e. to yield up, entrust, cast, commit, deliver up, give over.” Inherent to the word is the idea of risk, especially in the face of danger. It means that another is now in control; another is now calling all the shots.
May I ask when was the last time you took a risk for Christ? Can others tell by how you live that your life has been “handed over” to Jesus? Wouldn't that be something you would want them to know. And more importantly for their sakes, isn't that something you would want to inspire them to do for themselves by your own example?
Hand it over. Your life, hand it over to Jesus and watch what He does with it.
Paul and Barnabas hazarded their lives for the name and fame of Jesus. Contrary to what one may think this does not mean to be reckless or irresponsible. While there is unquestionable risk involved in “handing over your life to Christ,” it is in fact the ultimate act of personal responsibility.
Biblical endorsement comes from Jesus Himself. “Whoever loses his life for My sake will save it, but whoever insists on keeping his life will lose it” (Luke 9:24, Living Bible). If you hold on and try to keep it for yourself -- you lose it all. If you let go and place it in the hands of Jesus -- you gain everything.
So, what are you going to do?
Paul said, "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering.
"Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out.
"Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (Romans 12:1-2, The Message).
May your day be filled with God's presence as He leads you on the upward way!
The noble spirit of true disciples does not seek the pampered, risk-free environment of a lifeless faith. No! It begs for challenge, and cries out for significance! You and I were created by God with an inner passion to live a life that makes a difference. But this will not happen until we “hand our lives over to Christ.”
Only in His hands will we find the eternal security that emboldens us in this world to dare to think the unthinkable, to dream the unimaginable, and to do the impossible.
Like the songwriter said, we are those who “dream the impossible dream, fight the unbeatable foe, bear with unbearable sorrow, and run where the brave dare not go.”
We are those who will always seek “to right the unrightable wrong, and to fight for the right without question or pause; to be willing to pass into hell for a heavenly cause!
"And the world will be better for this, that one man scorned and covered in scars, still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable star—and to dream the impossible dream!” (from the Broadway Musical, Man of La Mancha, lyrics by Joe Darion).
Whether it be the fictional Don Quixote, or actual people that we ourselves know—we are faced daily with the stories of those who strive with all their heart to achieve the spectacular in life, or in sports, or in business, or in education, or in exploration. These individuals have hazarded their lives for the sake of career, wealth, fame, fashion, or glory.
Isn’t it time that we hazarded our lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ?