‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you…’ Matthew 25:24-25
Faith is risky. Stepping out in faith risks looking like a fool. We want to get it right. We want to make him proud. He is a God who demands our best, so it makes sense to do everything in our power to give him our best.
Mark 5 talks about risky faith.
A bleeding (unclean) woman not only came out in public, but also crawled on her hands and knees along the dirt to touch Jesus. That was a huge risk for her and Jesus knew it. He felt her faith take power from him and he turned around to see who touched him. She was terrified because, by law, she had just made him unclean, too.
The woman, knowing what had happened, knowing she was the one, stepped up in fear and trembling, knelt before him, and gave him the whole story. Jesus said to her, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well…” -Mark 5:33-34
Matthew 25 talks about risky faith:
He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities…depending on their abilities. – Matthew 25:14-15
What abilities? I think this story is about more than financial strategy. It’s an analogy to get us to understand what God’s Kingdom is like. I think he’s talking about faith.
The guy who risked the most is the one who got it right. The guy who played it safe was kicked out. He was afraid of disappointing his Master, but in trying not to fail, he failed completely.
“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least?…get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.” Matthew 25:26-30
The play-it-safe gets the boot.
The rich man in Mark 10 was asked to take a risk. He wanted to get in on God’s Kingdom so Jesus told him how. In essence, he told him to leave his security. That was too much to ask, so the guy, who followed all of God’s commands, could not get in on what Jesus was doing because he lacked the faith to risk the leap.
Jesus understands the demand.
“Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who ‘have it all’ to enter God’s kingdom?…You can’t imagine how difficult.” – Jesus, Mark 5:23-25
You don’t even have to ‘have it all.’ You just have to be hanging on to your barely-hanging-on type of security. What if you’re fighting against the gravity of the financial black hole and Jesus asks you to let it go?
Faith is risky.
If you’re at a crossroads and you think you are supposed to go left, but right seems more practical, consider this: the road of faith carries more risk than the road of scientific probability. Faith defies logic and there is no ‘average’ you can rely on to help you make an educated decision. Sometimes you have to risk looking like a dope.
Don’t move unless you know you’re hearing from God, but don’t let fear and a lack of faith keep you from walking on water. Walking on water is crazy. Leaving your security is crazy. Following Jesus is not for the faint of heart. It takes some cahoonas to be sure of what you hope for and certain of what you don’t see. (Hebrews 11:1)
“Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land—whatever—because of me and the Message will lose out. They’ll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life! This is once again the Great Reversal.” – Jesus, Mark 10:29-31
Are you having a hard time because the risk is bigger than you thought it would be? Isn’t that how it works, though? He asks you to abandon ship while the sun is still out. He asks you to build a boat before the rain. He asks you to wash seven times in a body of water you’ve been in a hundred. He asks you to cast your net one last time when your arms are aching from casting it all night. He asks you to break the five loaves of bread to feed the five-thousand hungry mouths.
When you step out in faith, he doesn’t leave you hanging. Not forever. Noah got laughed at for forty-years, but who’s laughing now? Your faith is tested all the way to dipping your head under water that seventh time. Your arms are too tired to carry in the load of fish that managed to evade your net all night long. You have your fill and have baskets full of leftovers.
You get your reason, your knowledge, your evidence after you move. It’s called ‘faith’ for a reason.
“Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
“Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
“Come.” – Matthew 14:27-30