So, we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. – Acts 15:25-27
Like many of us in this age, I rely on my cellphone for communication and I want to protect my data. I had AVG on my phone and it would warn me when I connected to networks I had not verified. I found it amusing when I was at church and AVG told me, “Living Hope may be risky.” This started a train of thought that I have been meditating on for a bit now.
Risk – something we don’t always like but we often take (mamas don’t tell their children, “Have a good day – take risks today”, no, they tell them to “be careful”). We take risks with our investments, with our relationships, and for adventure. We do this for the hope of something better – more money, someone to love (and to love us), or fame and glory, or just to alleviate boredom.
Few of us willingly risk our lives, especially for our faith. I think we hear our mother’s voice saying, “Be careful” and we live it out in our spiritual walk. We don’t want trouble – we believe the Christian life should be full of ease – and since we can easily offend someone by talking “religion”, we keep silent.
But Acts tells us of Paul and Barnabas who “risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. That statement alone speaks volumes! Read the book of Acts and you how they walked out their faith and risked their lives. For what? For something better – something eternally and infinitely better than life itself: The Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We too often give lip service to the power of Jesus’ Name. We sing of the beauty and power of His Name, but our actions (and our prayers) show that we treat it more like a good luck charm. I don’t believe we have fully grasped what Paul and Barnabas (and others throughout the ages) knew – the Name of Jesus is worth risking our lives. What do we have to lose? Our pain, our guilt, our brokenness, and our fear are just a few things that come to mind. Sounds like something better to me. I want to be part of the Church that risks all for Jesus and tells others (in word and deed) of His Name without fear. How about you?