What do you think about statements like- “It’s only the risk-takers that get the really good stuff,” or “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”? Is it true?

It is interesting that Christians are often criticized for taking the risk of believing in someone that can not be physically seen. Especially with all the difficulties involved in being the minority we are. But, it seems to be a bigger risk to believe that God doesn’t exist and walk into eternity and discover that He does.

We are told of a woman that was healed during Jesus’ ministry because she was willing to take a risk. She stuck her hand out and touched Jesus’ robe as He was passing by and was instantly healed of a very long-term internal bleeding problem. The disciples were surprised that Jesus noticed her touch and not the touch of all the others that came in contact with Him as He and his disciples worked their way through the crowded streets that day.

But He did notice that her touch was different. Her touch was based on the hope that something would happen even if all she did was touch the edge of His robe. She took a risk.

We do not have to take risks, but it appears that we will miss out if we don’t. What kind of risks are worth taking?

Clear evidence of our belief in Jesus puts us at risk for rejection. Fear of rejection is one of the three greatest fears we struggle with. Being an obvious believer is not popular in our culture. Isn’t it sad that there is such little evidence of genuine Christianity in our midst that an “average” Christian is described as a fanatic?

I have been told that new followers of Jesus in China are taught how to die a martyr’s death as part of their discipleship training. It’s riskier to be a believer in China. Our fear of personal or social rejection by others seems small in comparison.

Can we really fail if we are doing what we believe God is calling us to do? By most standards it would appear that the life and ministry of Jesus was a failure.

Surely He could have picked a better time in history to come. It would seem to make more sense for Him to come when the opportunity for greater notoriety through mass communications was available.

With our current knowledge of organizational development, couldn’t we develop more than twelve solidly-trained disciples? and with our missions network, couldn’t we spread the word faster?

The story is told of the angel, Gabriel, meeting Jesus after He returned to Heaven, greeting Him with the question, “Are you sure you want to leave it in the hands of those eleven guys?” Being obedient to God is never an act of failure.

The response we receive is never an accurate representation of success or failure.

Our active and immediate obedience to God’s individual direction to our lives is always an act of incredible value. We will learn some day what part each “small” act of obedience helped accomplish in God’s bigger plan. Our acts of obedience become our measure of success.

It is risky business.

Dr. Jerry Duncan is a board-certified psychologist and a licensed minister who resides in Norman.

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