Have you seen any of those survival skills reality shows? They usually involve one or two wilderness survival experts. I guess survivalists are basically people who are skilled in not dying. The experts get dropped into various hostile wilderness environments with little or no supplies and have to survive off the land and their smarts. If that were me? Oh my. How many ways could I die?
The survivalists have to beat off jaguars and snakes, poisonous insects and a vicious foot fungus or two. Yikes. And ick. They have to build shelter, get water, build a bow, kill their food, make a fire, find a Walmart—all your basics in wilderness survival.
I saw one show where the guy dug up a mound of termites and some greasy, roachy-looking beetles. There were some slugs on a stick, I think. Would you like a side of cattails with that? I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that they can keep their cattails—I’m about as far from a survivor girl as you can get. I won’t even taste the garnish when I’m at a nice restaurant. It just seems too risky.
Life does involve taking risks sometimes. Some risks are unnecessary, unwise or downright crazy-irrational. But risking rejection for standing for Christ? There’s a risk that’s not only wise, but it’s one we’re biblically compelled to take.
People’s lives are at stake. It’s not just about their wilderness survival. Not just their earthly survival even. How many ways can we die? More than one, for sure. Because we’re talking about their eternal survival here. When those are the stakes, our lives, and some of our most piddly needs, look smaller. We’re emboldened to risk.
Paul said in Acts 20:24, “But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace,” (HCSB). It’s not that Paul put no value in his life. But he knew that getting the Gospel to perishing people was infinitely bigger. And sharing the love of Christ, better than life.
Risking all for the Gospel is a place of no shame. Even when we’re maligned or mocked. Paul was able to say, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith,” (HCSB).
Sharing the Gospel of Christ in our own neighborhoods and around the world is powerful. It’s salvation power at work in the most faith-revealing way. What a miracle it is to see people’s lives completely transformed as they surrender by faith and embrace the righteousness of Christ as their own.
So let’s do it. Let’s risk it. For the ultimate survival of the souls all around us.
And maybe I should point out here too that when the people of Israel refused to risk going into the Promised Land, the consequences were dire. Forty years in the…oh how did they survive it?…wilderness.