The “Risk” of Adoption
One of the things we’re learning about ourselves is just how domesticated our faith in Jesus had become. We’ve insulated ourselves from any sort of risk. Without risk there is no opportunity for faith. We aren’t asked to take arbitrary risks just for risk sake. We’re simply asked to follow Jesus. Sometimes that will involve risks. Sometimes not.
Listening to some Christians (especially the TV-types with the spooky hair) would make you think that all aspects of our lives get better when we start following Jesus. But where did we ever get the idea that following Jesus was about reducing risk? It seems like a big part of Christianity (at least in our lives) has been about safety, security, and comfort. About not sticking our necks out too far.
I was reading a book by Erwin McManus the other day. He told about a speaker at some sort of church growth conference who encouraged a group of pastors to be “early adopters” not “mushroom tasters.” In other words, sit back and wait for someone else to taste the mushroom first. If they live, be the first to follow. If they die, hey, at least you’re still alive. The implication? God would never allow you to be a mushroom taster. That’s someone else’s job. God’s job for you is to stay safe and comfortable.
Here’s another favorite: “Being in the center of God’s will is the safest place to be.” Where did that saying ever come from? I don’t think Jesus ever would have said it.
"You will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me." Matthew 24:9
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." John 9:23
"No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." John 15:20
Stephen was stoned to death because of one sermon about Jesus. One sermon! Barnabas was also stoned. Matthew was killed by the sword. Mark was dragged to death by horses. Peter was crucified upside down. Bartholomew was whipped to death. Thomas was speared to death. Jesus’ brother, James, was thrown from a tower. His brother, Jude, was killed with arrows. Matthias, James, John the Baptist, and the Apostle Paul were all beheaded.
Sounds like a real safe domesticated faith to me!
I don’t dare even compare our adoption to the risks these guys took. Which I guess is my point. Adoption is relatively risk-free. Thousands have done it very successfully. Yet to many people in America it seems like a HUGE risk. It threatens family stability, future plans, social status, and financial security.
To the early church (and much of the international persecuted church of today) who risked their lives daily for the gospel our adoption probably wouldn’t be on their risk radar. After all, these guys sold their possessions and gave to anyone in need (Acts 2:45). Adopting orphans may have been an average, run-of-the-mill occurrence, not viewed as risky at all (my speculation, not scripture). No wonder their faith is so much stronger than ours. God help us!