Risk & Reward

This week, I found myself in a very difficult situation.  I was thrust into a position that required quick decisions and my best effort with an unknown outcome.  By happen chance, or better said, by God’s timing, I ended up on a fire scene with confirmed entrapment.  This is the worst dispatch to hear.  The call was not in my territory, nor would my department be asked to respond, but I felt compelled to go, as I was less than mile away and had my gear with me.  Upon arrival, I found heavy fire showing from the windows and heard law enforcement officers tell me that there was a woman inside the back bedroom.  I made the decision to try to enter the house.  While I had my gear (fire coat, pants, boots, and helmet), I did not have a breathing apparatus. To enter this house, I would have to risk it all.  I opened the back door and immediately faced a heavy fire with intense heat and smoke.  I got as low as I could to the floor, calling out to the person trapped inside – no response was heard.  I could not see anyone near the door and the fire was quickly advancing.  In that moment, I had to make a choice – was the risk worth the reward?  As a firefighter I know, from my earliest training, that being in the toxic environment of a house fire without your breathing equipment can be fatal in seconds.  It is often said, you’ll take your first and last breath if you don’t have the right equipment or if it fails for some reason.  That training rang loud in my ears and I ultimately decided I wouldn’t be able to pull this person from the fire before becoming a victim myself.  I pulled back.  Another saying we live by is risk a little to save a little, risk a lot to save a lot.  This situation had a great risk on the line, but the reward was unknown.  Not being able to see her, or hear her made it an unknown reward.  Was she still alive?  Would I be able to find her in those conditions?  Later, after the call ended, I spent a long time reflecting.  I thought a lot about sacrifice, and couldn’t help think about the ultimate sacrifice by Jesus.

God is calling each one of us to take a risk with a known reward.  [John 3:16] Jesus willingly came to this earth to pay the ultimate sacrifice.  He did this – gave His life, so that we could have a restored relationship with our creator – God.  He paid a penalty that required death for our sins.  His sacrifice gives me the opportunity to have my sins forgiven and forgotten.  So what’s the risk?  The risk is accepting His sacrifice for my sins, and trusting this faith in Him as the only way to receive the eternal reward of Heaven.  Unlike the incident I described in the beginning of this post – where the risk was great and reward unknown, my reward for trusting Christ is certain.  I don’t have to weigh it out and make a decision that has unknown consequences.  I can boldly move forward, not with fear, but with hope.

Read more about the hope found in Christ

So many people today are afraid of the risk.  We are afraid of what God will require of us, afraid that we can’t measure up, or won’t be able to follow through.  We are afraid of losing the life that we know.  For so many people, the risk is too great because they can’t see the reward.  Many of the fears that people have are true.  We can’t measure up to God’s standard, we will fall down along the way, and we will be different from our former self.  The closer we get to Christ the more different we will be in this world.  It is certainly not the easiest road nor the most comfortable.  But we can face this with the certainty of the reward.  God’s promises are real.  He sees us through His son, Jesus Christ.  We can step out in the faith of an eternal reward.  We can step out in the faith of the Holy Spirit that will be with us every step of the way, leading our hearts toward a closer relationship with Christ.  Is the risk of stepping out in faith worth the reward?  The answer is simply an eternal yes!

Father, thank you for taking on the risks of this life and making the ultimate sacrifice for me.  Thank you for making me your reward.  I continue to be in awe of you and your love.  Thank you for giving me a desire to follow you and for a servant’s heart. I am thankful that the risk you ask of me has an eternal reward.  I pray today that my life brings glory to you.  Help me to deny my sinful flesh and instead follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life.  May your name be lifted up through all you bless me to do.  In your name I pray – Amen.



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