You invested a bunch of money in a hobby. You stopped and picked up someone on the side of the road who needed help. You shared your feelings with someone, not knowing how they would respond. What did each of these have in common? They involved taking a risk. You calculated the risk, possibly with much thought, care and rationale, and weighed the potential reward. Would there be much joy or satisfaction provided by your new hobby, or would it simply lead to a waste of money? Would picking up that person on the side of the road provide benefit to them versus the safety risk to yourself? Would sharing your feelings with someone lead to empathy and a deeper relationship, or possibly to rejection?
Whether we are risk averse or a risk taker, our lives are full of daily decisions where we are calculating risks, mitigating risks, and accepting risks, whether we like it or not. In Phil 2:25-30, Epaphroditus experienced this and much more. Paul commends him for the risk he was willing to take. For one, it was of direct benefit to Paul himself amidst his hardships. But more than that, Paul realized the ultimate reason behind Epaphroditus’ risk. His risk was ultimately for Christ and the spread of the gospel. He did it because Christ risked and gave His all for Epaphroditus. Thus Epaphroditus was willing to give back in a similar manner. As Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
What risks are you willing to take for Christ today? This week? This is not to say that we need to go looking for daring adventures that are foolish and even put the Lord to the test. But there are instances every day where we have the opportunity to grow our faith, resting more upon the Lord, and being willing to depend upon His goodness and care for us. If it is a risk that is in Christ’s will for our lives, it is more than worth the reward.
Rev. Darol Timberlake, Assistant Pastor