The game of Risk by Parker Bros is a really great game to play, unless you have delusions of grandeur, if so you might want to stay away. If you don’t know, the main objective of Risk is world domination or occupying all the territories on the board by eliminating the rest of the players. Whenever world domination comes into play you know the game will be serious. What I found after playing this game many times, is that some people are not willing to take risks to win. Instead of being on the attack they constantly fortify their defense until an opponent comes to battle for their territory and a strong defense is good but can’t hold up forever. I have never found it to be a good strategy to sit back and defend instead of taking some risks and being the victor.

Risk is what we re talking about this week in the Epistle of James. At the very end of chapter two James mentions a familiar Old Testament character as he talks about risk. Rahab is the prostitute that is mentioned by name in the genealogy of Jesus. Rahab risked her own life and wellbeing to hide the Israelite spies. Instead of sending them off in a different direction, she provided them lodging so that they could scope out the land and people who God was giving to them.

I think it is easy for us to look back at Rahab and believe that what she did was probably easy or not that big of a deal. But put yourself in her shoes for a moment. Rahab is a citizen of the city. There are rumblings in the city that the Israelites are coming to take them out just as they have done with Jericho. People are on edge and hoping no one will penetrate their walls and take them out. Someone has spotted spies in their walls. There is an all out search for them; men, women, children and soldiers. Rahab comes across the spies and has a decision to make, will she turn in the spies and have them killed, or will she hide them and pray they have pity on her later. Rahab has very little knowledge of the God of the Israelites, but she risks her home, family and life to hide these spies under the pile of flax. When the soldiers come knocking on her door she must show no fear or trembling at all because they will be able to see it. If the spies make any noise at all they could be caught. As it turns out, the soldiers come and go without spotting the spies, Rahab has been successful, the risk has worked so far, hopefully the spies keep their word and remember her. This sounds like a scene from a movie, doesn’t it? Tension, drama and suspense surround the whole story. All this happens because Rahab responds to a God she barely knows to help people she has never met.

Is there Risk in your Faith?

I think we more often than not try to find the safe route in all that we do. Safety is important because we don’t want to see anyone get hurt or harmed. The truth is that the safe route is not always the right route. God’s people throughout history have stood up risking life and limb to accomplish God’s mission. Rahab is just one example in the line of millions. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor in Germany, stood up in the face of the evils of the Nazi regime and refused to budge. He was thrown into a concentration camp and later died there. It was a risk that led to his death, but a risk that has stood the test of time and served as an encouragement for other Christians suffering for their faith.

That is a big example of risk but there are everyday examples of people stepping out in faith even when it doesn’t make sense to anyone else. It’s the young man who is willing to go downtown and talk and engage with people who are not like him. It’s the woman who uses her cooking and nutrition knowledge to feed the homeless camps in her city. It’s the married couple that had money problems in the past, but is now ready to put some money into building a center for struggling youth. It’s the thousands of others right in your own city that are putting their faith into action. Everyday people are stepping out of their comfort and safety to pursue the places and people God is calling them to. All of this based on faith from God, who empowers us and stands by our side through risk and comfort.

Faith takes risks. So where is God calling you to risk?