Doesn't that picture look like a driver's worst nightmare? That's what happens when the drivers in Bucharest, Romania all decide to run a red light. What an adventure!I just read an article by John Stossel describing how traffic moves better & more safely when the traffic lights & stop signs are removed. Does that sound crazy? Instead of sitting at a mechanized light waiting to be told when to go, drivers meet in an intersection & negotiate their way through by making eye contact & gesturing. In Drachten, Holland, lights & signs were removed from an intersection handling about 30,000 cars a day. Average waiting times dropped from 50 seconds to less than 30 seconds. Accidents dropped from an average of eight per year to just one. On Kensington High Street in London, after pedestrian railing & other traffic markers were removed, accidents dropped by 44 %. This type of behavior even has a name: the "Peltzman Effect", named after retired Univ. of Chicago economist Sam Peltzman. He said, "People tend to behave more recklessly when their sense of safety is increased. By removing signs & lights, drivers feel less safe, so they drive more carefully."
When you read the life of Jesus you continually come across people taking risks for Him. The leper who risked a stoning to come to Jesus asking to be healed (Mark 1:40). The 4 friends tearing up someone's roof to allow their paralyzed friend to see Jesus (Mark 2:4). The Royal Official risking his son's life by taking Jesus at His word & going home to his sick son without taking Jesus with him (John 4:50). Peter walking on the water (Matthew 14:29). The Canaanite woman who barged into a Jew's house uninvited to ask Jesus to heal her daughter (Mark 7:25). Story after story in the gospels tell of Jesus rewarding people for courageous acts of faith done for Him.
How can I have a part in that great adventure & come away with a miracle to tell? I think Matthew gives us a hint in chapter 15 of his gospel account of the Canaanite woman.
28Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted."
So great faith causes you to take risks? That means faith is not something you think or believe, but rather how you live.
Do some people think picking up a homeless couple that you've never met is risky? They could stink up your car, or spill their beer on you. They might even pull a knife & rob you. You just don't know what might happen. How can you take that risk? Remember the Peltzman effect? People tend to behave more recklessly when their sense of safety is increased. Here is the spiritual way to look at the Peltzman effect. When you feel safe in doing God's will you can take more risks for the Kingdom.
About a month ago my mom saw a lady holding a cardboard sign (pictured at left) at the corner of an intersection. They had come to Abilene on the promise of a job & it didn't work out. They were out of money & living in a tent behind a restaurant. My mom asked the lady if she would like to go to a Bible study & have a meal. The lady said yes so she & her husband came along for a ride (Little did I know that my family were the ones that would be going for a ride). Tonight they were both born again, baptized into Jesus. Just weeks after they had thought about committing suicide, they have been raised to live a new life. Having a front row seat watching God work in their lives is the great adventure. If my mom hadn't taken a risk of faith, we would've missed out. When we risk things for the Kingdom we tell the world about God, that He is trustworthy & faithful. Sermons, Bible study and seminary classes can't teach the true nature of God, you have to experience it.
When was the last time you took a risk for Jesus?