• Jason Wade


11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love,endurance and gentleness.12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:11-12

One of the toughest decisions we have to make each day are the ones that determine what risk am I willing to give for the reward that I will attain. It is something that we have to choose each and every day as it pertains to our daily circumstances. We truly step into the battle to see what we are willing to do in the face of possible failure, hurt or judgement. Every day we have to decide how far are we willing to risk it all for the glory of God. And I have to be honest that those are truly difficult questions that we face when we look in the mirror. As the new day dawns, we continue to step into the realm of spiritual warfare and it causes us to continue to look into the mirror and make decisions that can ultimately affect our ability to fully be used for the kingdom of God. Some days may seem like a joy to step into the battle for Jesus and other days we experience this doubt and frustration that drive us to pray that we can just make it through the day. We look at the risk and sometimes the reward may not be worth in our minds if it causes us to step away from completing the journey God has intended for us. We continue to listen to the voices and doubts cloud our minds and we determine that the risk truly is not worth the possible outcome of the situation.

That is a very powerful statement when you think about it. There is a point in all of us that we feel that the risk is truly not worth the outcome. As I am watching the summer olympics, I am able to see this same example played out each and every day. Athletes of all shapes and sizes have been risking it all to come home with the honor of medaling in an event at the world's highest example of competition. We are literally watching people who have

sacrificed years of their lives for the honor to fail in the eyes of the world. See, it really is not good enough any more just to represent your personal country as the best athlete if you are not able to win the medal and be the best in the world. Many athletes will falter and fail and succumb to the voices that tell them that it was not worth it to be a part of the journey if you cannot win the ultimate prize and prove to the world that you are the best. I struggle with this.... I truly do. I struggle because the competitive nature that was ingrained within me since my childhood says that the only way to truly show the world is to win. But the humanity part of me asks the question of at what cost is it worth risking it all to destroy the heart and passion of a person. Is it truly worth it to sell yourself out to the world and it costs you the JOY that GOD had given you? Are we able to truly weigh the rewards before we take the risk or do we realize that the risk is part of the journey that God leads us on? I continue to grapple with these questions because I know that we do live in a risk and reward society, but is that truly the message etched into our hearts from the Gospel of Jesus?

Every day our lives teeter on these types of questions. I know that I am sold out for Jesus and that I would risk it all for the pursuit of perfection through Christ. I know that there is a thin line through the goals for the kingdom versus the goals established in this world. I know that there have been times that I have truly risked my life and my livelihood for the GOSPEL and that there will be treasures in heaven that will meet me there. Not treasures in the way that we define it, but the treasures that are the rewards from the sacrifices and seeds planted into the lives of those who will now be in heaven for eternity once their lives on earth are complete. The reward like that of the widow who was willing to give all she had in this world because of the HOPE of GLORY she would one day find when she risked all she had for a reward not yet seen. Timothy is helping us to deal with this battle in our scripture lesson for today. The Church where Timothy is leading has been struggling with defining success through the power of money. The risk is to do anything possible to get as much as possible regardless of who is hurt in the process. The reward was status in their eyes but destruction in God's eyes. That does not mean that if you are well off that you have stepped over a line, but that the understanding of the reward is skewed. Timothy encourages them to see the real reward that we are striving for in the end. Remember we cannot take anything from this world with us, but we can use the gifts and abilities to help others understand the value of eternity with God. Timothy is encouraging us to see things from a different perspective and to use the gifts, status, athleticism, or whatever it may be to step into the realm of faith with God. It is definitely a thin line that we are walking when it comes to understanding the risk versus reward in the eyes of God versus the eyes of the world, but it definitely one that we will continue to encounter on a daily basis.

So I hope and pray that you take the time each day to have that conversation with God. I pray that you take an honest look in the mirror and talk to the person that you see and be real about what risks are you willing to take for the reward not received in this world but the reward waiting for others in heaven. I know that so many of you speak about your faith openly and that took some time coming to the point of realizing that the risk of a few moments of being uncomfortable is worth the reward of people coming to know Christ. I

know that others of you are still battling the decisions each and every day of whether or not to stand out for your faith or be a prayer warrior in your way. We desperately need all types of people at different stages of their faith journey to help lead others to the true reward of eternity with Christ. We need the bold and the silent. We need everyone to discern their opportunities and continue to risk the uncomfortable for the reward that may be unseen until completion. The olympics is a way to show us a very strong truth about the world, and I hope and pray that the reward is the right message that we need to pass on to future generations. That regardless of our situation, our circumstance or our results, we still have a reward that is waiting on us in heaven that outshines all of the trophies in this world. I pray that we will all continue to step into the risk of sharing our faith in a way that the reward unseen will lead to a stronger kingdom for eternity. It started with ONE who was willing to see that the risk was worth the reward and I pray that we follow the same example of Christ. Who did not see equality with God as something to be grasped, but humbled Himself and took on the very nature of a servant and died on the cross so that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and tongue confess that HE IS LORD. It was never about the power, the position, the authority or the crown of thorns they placed around His head, but about the opportunity to see the reward in welcoming another lost sheep back home into the fold. YOU WERE WORTH THE RISK and NOW THE REWARD IS ETERNITY IN HEAVEN!

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